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The Sage Digital Library 

Select Library 

of 

The Nicene and 

Post-Nicene Fathers 

of 

The Christian Church 

SECOND SERIES 

Under the Editorial Supervision of 

Philip Schaff, D.D., LL.D. and Henry Wace, D.D., 

Proiessor of Chinch Histoiy in the Proiessor of King's 

Union Theological Seminary, New York. College, London. 



VOLUME 10 

St. Ambrose 
Selected Works and Letters 



New York Christian Literature Company 1890-1900 
riajjUj^ Digital Hublifortigns 




SOME OF 
THE PRINCIPAL WORKS OF ST. AMBROSE, 

TRANSLATED BY 

THE REV. H. DE ROMESTIN, M.A., 

Of St. John's College, Oxford, and Rector of Tiptree, Essex. 

WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF 

THE REV. E. DE ROMESTIN, M.A., 

Of New College, Oxford, 

AND 

THE REV. H. T. F. DUCKWORTH, M.A., 

OfMerton College, Oxford. 



CONTENTS 

Translator's Preface 
Prolegom ena 

DOGMATIC TREATISES, ETHICAL WORKS, AND SERMONS. 

On the Duties of the Clergy 

On the Holy Spirit 

On the Death of Satyrus 

On the Belief in the Resurrection 

On the Christian Faith 

On the Mysteries 

On Repentence 

Concerning Virgins 

Concerning Widows 



LETTERS. 

Letter XVII. To Valentinian II. 

Memorial of Symmachus 
Letter XVIII. To Valentinian II., in reply to Symmachus 
Letter XX. To Marcellina as tothe Arian party 
Letter XXI. To Valentinian II., declining the challenge of Auxentius 

Sermon against Auxentius 
Letter XXII. To Marcellina on finding the bodies of SS. Gervasius and 

Protasius 
Letter XL. To Theodosius as to the burning of a Jewish Synagogue 
Letter XLI. To Marcellina on the same 
Letter LI. To Theodosius after the massacre at Thessalonica 
Letter LVII. To Eugenius, reproving him 
Letter LXI To Theodosius, after his victroy over Eugenius 
Letter LXII. To Theodosius, urging him to be merciful 
Letter LXIII. To the Church at Vercellae 



TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE 



A lthough, according to the plan of this "Library," Commentaries on 
Holy Scriptures are omitted, and the field of selection is thus somewhat 
lessened, it has been no easy matter to decide which of St. Ambrose's 
many treatises should be chosen and which omitted. 

Obviously the great work on the Faith, De F/Je,must be included, and this 
implied the addition of that on the Holy Spirit. Then the treatise on the 
Duties of the clergy, as throwing much light on the ideas of the Fourth 
Century as to what was expected of ecclesiastics, seemed to claim a place. 
And after these the difficulty becomes very great. It is unfortunate that the 
limitations of space do not admit of the inclusion of all the dogmatic and 
ascetic treatises. Similarly, one would have been glad to insert the 
addresses on the deaths of the two Emperors Valentinian and Theodosius. 
More, also, of his letter might well have been added, though, as they have 
appeared in full in the Oxford, "Library of the Fathers," this is a matter for 
less regret. 

As will be seen, I have availed myself of hte assistance of my son, the Rev. 
E. de Romestin, of New College, and of the Rev. H.T.F. Duckworth, of 
Merton College, each of whom took high honors in the Theological School 
at Oxford. 

The work has been carried out under some difficulties, and not the least 
has been the loss in traveling of a considerable portion of the manuscript, 
the whole of which had to be translated anew. 



PROLEGOMENA TO ST. AMBROSE 

1. LITERATURE. 

1. Editions. 

A ll the Editions of the works of St. Ambrose which preceded that of the 
Benedictines are very inadequate. Of these the chief are the folllowing: 

1. Venice, A.D. 1485. 

2. Cribelluis, A.D. 1490. 

3. Auerbach, Basel, A.D. 1492, reprinted in 1506, with a full Index. 

These are very faulty Editions. 

4. Erasmus, Basel, A.D. 1527, reprinted and re-edited by different 

persons, in various places [by Baronius amongst others, 
A.D. 1549]. 

5. Gillot Campanus, Paris, A.D. 1568. 

6. Felix de Montalto [afterwards Pope Sixtus V.], Rome, A.D. 

1580-1585, reprinted at Paris, A.D. 1603. 

7. The Benedictines of St. Maur, Paris, A.D. 1686-1690, reprinted 

at Venice, A.D. 1748 and 1781, as well as with additions by 
Migne, Patres Latini, Vols. XrV-XVII. 

8. A new edition by Ballerini, Milan, A.D. 1875-1886, founded on 

that of the Benedictines, but by no means superior to it. 

There is still room for a critical edition of the works of this 
great Father, which are unfortunately very corrupt, but in 
many points it is not likely that the work of the 
Benedictine editors can be improved upon. 

9. There are separate editions of some of the treatises of St. 

Ambrose, as of the Hexaemeron and De Officiis 
Clericorum, in the Bibliotheca Patrum Eccl. Latinae Selecta, 
Leipzig, Tauchnitz. The De Officiis has also been edited, 
with considerable improvements in the text, by Krabinger, 
Tubingen, 1857, and the De Fide and De Paenitentia, by 
Hurter in the Vienna selections from the Fathers. 



2. Translations. 

There seems to have never been any attempt to translate the works of this 
great Christian Father and Doctor in full. 

Some few treatises, De Officiis, De excessufrairis Satyri, De Virginitate, 
and several other short ones, appear in German, in the select writings of 
the Fathers, published by Kosel of Kempten. The Epistles have been 
translated into French by Bonrecuiel, Paris, A.D. 1746; and the De Officiis 
and Epistles into English, the former by humfrey, London, A.D. 1637; the 
latter in the Oxford "Library of the Fathers," revised by E. Walford, 
London, 1881; whilst the De Mysteriis appears in a little volume of 
Sacramental Treatises, published by Messrs. J. Parker & Co., Oxford, 
under the supervision of the Editor of this volume. There is a very valuable 
little monograph entitled Studia Ambrosiana, chiefly critical, and 
unfortunately brief, by Maximilian Ihm. Leipzig, Teubner, 1889. 



3. Biographies And Authorities For The Life Of St. Ambrose. 

(a.) Ancient. 

Many of his own writings. — Life of St. Ambrose by Paulinus, a deacon of 
the Church of Milan.— St. Augustin, Confessions, V. 23, 24; Vi. 1-6; IX. 
13-16; and many other passages in his writings. — St. Jerome, De 
Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticis, c. 134.Rufinus, Ecclesiastical History, XL 11, 
15, 16, 18. — Socrates, Eccl. History, IV. 30; V. 11. — Sozomen, Eccl. 
History, VI. 24; VII. 13, 25. 

(b.) Modern. 

Baronius, Annals, A.D. 397, n. 25-35; Life of St. Ambrose in the 
prolegomena to the Roman Edition of his works. — The Life of St. 
Ambrose gathered from his own writings, in the Benedictine Edition 



8 

(excellent). — Heraiant, Vie de St. Ambroise, Paris, 1678. — Tillemont, 
Memoires, etc., Tome X. St. Ambroise, and notes. — Ceillier, Histoire 
generate des Auteurs sacres, Tome V. Ed. 2, Paris 186c. — Dupin, Tome ii. 
[This writer says that the text of St. Ambrose is more corrupt than that of 
any other Father. See Alzog, Patrologie, Ed. I.] — Cave, Hist. Lit. Vol. I. — 
Schoeneman, Bibliotheca historica PP. Lot. I. 388-419. — Silbert. Leben des 
heiligen Ambrosius, Vienna, 1841 — Baunard, Histoire de St. Ambroise, 
Paris, 1872 [translated into German, Freiburg, 1873]. — Life of St. 
Ambrose, by Archdeacon Thornton, London, and other shorter 
sketches. — Fessler [Jungmann], Institutiones Patrologiae, I. 655 [also 
Patrologies of Moehler, Alzog, etc.]. Articles in the Freiburg 
Kirchen-Lexikon, the Dictionary of Christian biography, and other 
encyclopaedias. 



2. NOTES ON SECULAR AND CHURCH HISTORY 
DURING THE LATTER PART OF THE FOURTH CENTURY. 

After the Council of Nicaea, A.D. 325, the faith of the Catholic Church 
was established, but a considerable time was to eslapse, and the tide of 
heterodoxy was to ebb and flow many times before peace should finally 
ensue. The "conversion" of the Emperor Constantine, though not 
followed, till he was dying, by baptism, led not merely to the toleration 
but to the protection and, as it were, the "establishment" of the Christian 
religion. This very naturally was followed by a large influx of worldliness 
into the Church, and bishops began to be time-servers and courtiers. St. 
Ambrose, however, was not of this number, but whether in defense of the 
Catholic faith, of the property of the Church, or, as in his legations to 
Maximus, for the protection of those in peril or anxiety who sought his 
aid, he braved every danger, even taht of death itself. 

During the greater part of the life of St. Ambrose many of those in power, 
amongst others the empress mother Justina, were Arians. Julian, though 
too early to affect the actions of the bishop, apostatized to paganism, 
which also numbered many supporters of high station. On the other hand, 
the influence of St. Ambrose, exercised even with severe strictness, was 



9 

all-powerful with Theodosius, known as the emperor who subdued the 
Arian heresy and abolished the worship of idols in the Roman Empire. 

The various historical events during the lifetime of St. Ambrose will be 
found entered under the different years in the subjoined table; it remains 
only here to give some account of his burial-place. 

St. Ambrose having discovered the bodies of SS. Cosmas and Damian, 
A.D. 389, placed them under the right side of the altar in his basilica, and 
desired that he should be himself buried near them to the left, which was 
done A.D. 397. In the year 835 the Archbishop of Milan, Angilbert II. 
caused a large porphyry sarcophagus to be made in which he laid the body 
of St. Ambrose between the other two under the altar. In 1864 some 
excavations and repairs revealed in situ a magnificent sarcophagus nearly 
four and a half feet in length, three in width, and nearly two in height, 
without the covering, placed lenthwise. Further excavations brought to 
view two other tombs, one to the right and one to the south. In teh one to 
the left were a few peices of money, one of Flavius Victor, one of 
Theodosius, with some fragments of cloth gold and other things. These 
were evidently the original resting-places of St. Ambrose and of SS. 
Cosmas and Damian, and the sacrophagus that constructed under Lothair, 
A.D. 835, by Angilbert. 



3. HISTORICAL SUMMARY AND CHRONOLOGICAL 
TABLES. 

A.D. 

340 Birth of St. Ambrose (probably at Treves), youngest son of 

Ambrose, Prefect of the Gauls. Constantine II. killed at Aquileia. 
Death of Eusebius. 

341 . Seventh Council of Antioch. Second exile of St. Athanasius. 

343. Photinus begins teaching his heresy. 

347. Birth of St. John Chrysostom. Council of Sardica. St. Athanasius 
restored. 

348. Birth of Prudentius the Christian poet. 

349. Synod of Sirmium against Photinus. 



10 

350. Death of the Emperor Constans. St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers. 
Magnentius proclaimed Emperor of the West. 

351. Photinus condemned by a semi-Arian synod. 

352. Liberius, Pope in succession to Julius. 

353-4. About this date St. Ambrose is taken by his mother to live at 

Rome, where he sister Marcellina received the veil at the hands of 
Liberius at Christmas, either A.D. 353, or more probably 354. 
Suicide of Magnentius the Emperor. 

354. Birth of St. Augustine. Death of the Emperor Gallus. 

355. Liberius, the Pope, Dionysius, Bishop of Milan, and Lucifer, 
Bishop of Cagliari, banished by an Arian synod at Milan. Third 
exile of St. Athanasius. 

356. Banishment of St. Hilary of Poitiers. 

357. Liberius subscribes (as the Arians say) an Arian Creed, and returns 
to Rome A.D. 358. 

359. Council of Ariminum, Macedonius of Constantinople deposed. 
Eudoxius consecrated Bishop. 

361. Julian Emperor. 

362. Fourth exile of St. Athanasius. 

363. Death of the Emperor Julian. St. Athanasius restored. Felix Pope. 

364. Death of the Emperor Jovian. Valentinian and Valens Emperors. 

366. Death of Liberius in September. Damasus elected in his place, but 
the see is also claimed by Ursinus. 

367. Gratian, only a boy, declared Augustus by his father Valentinian. 
368-74. Successful career of St. Ambrose in legal business and as 

"consular." 
370. St. Basil, Bishop of Caesarea. 

372. St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Bishop of Susium. 

373. Death of St. Athanasius. 

374. Death of Auxentius, the Arian Bishop of Milan, and election of St. 
Ambrose, though still only a catechumen, by acclamation. St. 
Martin Bishop of Tours. 

374-5. St. Ambrose sends a deputation of clerics to St. Basil to ask for the 
body of St. Doinysius, late Catholic Bishop of Milan. [St. Basil, 
Ep. 197.] 

375. Death of Valentinian in November. His son Valentinian is admitted 
by Gratian to be Emperor of the East, though only four years old. 



11 

377. St. Ambrose writes the three books, De Virginibus; one, De Viduis; 
which is followed by the book, De Virginitate. 

378. The first two books, De Fide, written at the request of Gratian, 
who was setting out to the relief of Valens against the Goths. 
Valens is overcome and killed at Adrianople. Many Christians 
having been made captives, St. Ambrose sells Church plate to 
redeem them. 

379. Theodosius is proclaimed Augustus. Death of St. Basil and of St. 
Ephrem Syrus. Gratian, on his way back from Thrace, requests St. 
Ambrose to come to meet him and receives the first two books of 
the treatise De Fide, and asks for a further one on the Holy Spirit; 
the latter was written two years later. Death of Satyrus, brother of 
St. Ambrose. The two treatises on his death written. 

379-80. Famine in Rome.— See De Off. III. 46-48. 

380. Baptism of Theodosius at Thessalonica. Books III.-V. of the De 
Fide written about this time, the basilica which had been 
sequestered by Gratian is restored to the Church. 

381. Death at Constantinople of Athanaricus, leader of the Goths. The 
three books, De Spiritu Sancto, written. Death of Peter, Bishop of 
Alexandria. The OEcumenical Council of Constantinople 
commences under the presidency of Meletius of Antioch. Also at 
Aquileia a council, at which St. Ambrose took a leading part, was 
held against the heretics Palladius and Secundianus. An account is 
given of the proceedings in Epistles 9-12. 

381-2. St. Ambrose presides over a council of Italian bishops to take into 
consideration the troubles at Antioch and Constantinople. Epistles 
13, to Theodosius, and 14, his reply, state the proceedings. 
Theodosius summoned a council to consider the same matters at 
Constantinople. 

382. Gratian orders the removal of the image of Victory from the forum 
at Rome. [Ep. 17, 18.] Acholius, Bishop of Thessalonica, dies and 
is succeeded by Anysius. 

383. The Priscillianists endeavor in vain to gain Damasus and St. 
Ambrose to their side by means of a visit to Rome and Milan. On 
the 25th of August Gratian is assassinated at Lyons by the 
instigation of Maximus. A great dearth at Rome. [De Off. III. 7, 49; 
Ep. 18.] 



12 

383-4. First legation of St. Ambrose to Maximus on behalf of Justina the 
Empress and her son Valentinian II. 

384. The memorial of Symmachus the prefect of the city to Valentinian, 
requesting the restoration of the Altar of Victory, and the reply of 
St. Ambrose. [Ep. 17, 18.] A synod at Bordeaux against the 
Priscillianists. Death of Damasus, who is succeeded by the Siricius 
as Pope. 

385. Priscillian and his companions are condemned to death at Treves at 
the instigation of the Spanish Bishops Idacius and Ithancius. The 
Ithacians consecrate Felix as bishop. [Ep. 42-51.] The persecution 
at Milan of Catholics by Justina in Holy Week. [Ep. 20.] The law 
of Valentinian II., granting Arians equal rights with Catholics. 
Auxentius claims the see of Milan. [Sermon against Auxentius and 
Ep. 21.] The deposit which a widow had entrusted to the Church 
at Trent having been carried off by imperial order, St. Ambrose 
succeeds in procuring its restitution. [De Off. II. 29, 150, 151.] 
New basilica at Milan consecrated. 

386. Finding the bodies of St. Gervasius and Pretasius [Ep.22.] Epistle 
23 to the bishops of the province of AEmilia on the right day for 
the observance of Easter. 

386-7. The exposition of the Gospel according to St. Luke written. 

387. Baptism of St. Augustine at Milan by St. Ambrose at Easter. 
Second mission of St. Ambrose to Maximus. [Ep. 24.] Expulsion of 
St. Ambrose from Treves because of his refusal to communicate 
with the murderer of his sovereign. In the later part of the year 
Maximus crosses into Italy and enters Milan. 

388. At Constantinople the Arians destroy the residence of the Catholic 
Bishop Nectarius. [Ep. 40, 13.] Death of Justina, and conversion 
of Valentinian II. by Theodosius. Theodosius marches against 
Maximus, who is everywhere defeated [Ep. 40, 23], and executed 
at Aquileia. Third application concerning the Altar of Victory. 

390. The excessive cruelty with which Theodosius punished a sedition 
at Thessalonica brought on him exclusion from communion, and a 
severe rebuke at the hands of St. Ambrose. The Emperor's 
penitence and readmission to communion. A synod is held at Milan 
against the Ithacian heretics, and Felix, Bishop of Treves. [Ep. 51.] 



13 

391-2. The deputation of part of the Roman Senate to Valentinian to 

request the restoration of the Altar of Victory in the Forum. ]Ep. 
57, 5.] The treatise De institutione Virginis, written about this 
time, as also, De Ojficiis. 

392. Valentinian II. killed at Vienne by Arbogastes [Ep. 53, 2; De ob. 
Valent. 25 ff.]. His body is brought to Milan. The address, 
Constolatio de ob. Val. A further delegation from the Senate is sent 
to Eugenius respecting the Altar of Victory [Ep. 57, 6 ff.]. 

393. On the arrival of Eugenius at Milan St. Ambrose leaves the city for 
Bononia Faventia and Florence. The letters to Eugenius and 
Sabinus written about this time. 

393-4. At Florence St. Ambrose dedicates a basilica, in which he deposits 
the bodies of the martyrs Vitalis and Agricola, which he had 
brought from Bononia. His address on this occasion was that which 
is inscribed, Exhortatio Virginitatis. He writes Ep. 59. 

394. Theodosius sets out from Constantinople against Eugenius. About 
the beginning of August St. Ambrose returns to Milan. Eugenius 
defeated by Theodosius and slain, Sept. 6. St. Ambrose intercedes 
and obtains pardon for the followers of Eugenius. After this St. 
Ambrose writes the Enarrationes on Psalms 35-40 and Ep. 61, 62. 

395. Death of Theodosius at Milan. St. Ambrose's oration De obitu 
Theodosii. Honorius and Arcadius Emperors. St. Augustine, 
Bishop of Hippo. Death of Rufinus. 

396. Dissentions at Vercellae, the occasion of writing Ep. 63, and of a 
visit to that Church. 

397. St. Ambrose consecrates a bishop for Tichinum, and shortly after 
falls ill. He commenced the Ennaratio on Psalm 43, which he left 
unfinished; and died in the night between Good Friday and Easter 
Eve, having recommended Simplicianus as his successor. 



4. ON THE DOCTRINE OF ST. AMBROSE. 

There is a very complete agreement on the part of St. Ambrose with the 
Catholic teaching of the universal Church. St. Augustine speaks of him as 
"a faithful teacher of the Church, and even at the risk of his life a most 
strenuous defender of Catholic truth," "whose skill, constancy, labors, and 



14 

perils, both on account of what he did and what he wrote, the roman world 
unhesitately proclaims." In matters both of faith and morals by his words 
and writings he greatly benefited the Church and was called by St. Jerome 
"a pillar of the Church." 

In his dogmatic treatises, more particularly in his books on the Faith, he 
shows great skill and penetration, and his reasoning is full and clear, 
meeting the most subtle objections with patient industry. Scarcely any 
ancient writer has treated the mystery of the Holy Trinity and the 
theological difficulties connected with it more clearly and convincingly 
than St. Ambrose in his De Fide and De Spiritu Sanctio. 

In his expositions of Holy Scripture he treats of the threefold sense, the 
literal, the moral, and the mystical, devoting more pains, however, and time 
to the latter than to the former. He gives special consideration to the 
mystical interpretation of such passages as may seem to contain in a literal 
sense anything diverging from sound morality. Many of his other mystical 
interpretations of plain, simple matters of fact have much beauty, as in his 
treatment of the story of the building of the ark, the marriage of Isaac, and 
the blessings of the Patriarches. The literal sense is followed specially in 
the Hexaemeron, the treatise on Paradise, Noah and the Ark, and the 
Exposition of the Gospel according to St. Luke. The moral sense, though 
referred to throughout his writings, is more particularly sought out in the 
Expositions of the Psalms. 

St. Ambrose was a diligent student of the Greek writers, whom he often 
follows largely, especially Origen and Didymus, as also St. Basil the Great 
and St. Athanasius, and he has also adapted many points of allegorical 
interpretation from Philo. He is fond of alleging scriptural proofs, and 
when he argues from reason often confirms his argument by some 
quotation of reference, a task easy for him who, from his consecration, was 
so diligent a student of holy Scripture. 

As to justification, St. Ambrose ascribes the whole work to the Holy 
Spirit, Who seals us in our hearts, as we receive the outward sign in our 
bodies. Through the Holy Spirit we receive a share of the grace of 
adoption. Christ was perfect according to the fullness of His Majesty; we 
are perfected by a continual progress in virtue. 



15 

With regard to baptism, he taught in accordance with the received belief of 
his day that it is the sacrament of adoption and regeneration, wherein sin is 
forgiven, and the Holy Spirit confers new life upon the soul and joins it 
mystically to Christ. As to the Real Presence in the Sacrament of the 
Eucharist, his doctrine is no less definite. In his treastise on the Faith he 
says of the elements that they "are transfigured [transfigurantur] by the 
mystery of the sacred prayer into flesh and blood." He interprets various 
texts, also, in many places in the same sense. In a like spirit he maintains 
that the power of forgiving sins on repentance is vested in the ministry of 
the Church. The intercession of the saints, and up to a certain point their 
invocation, is likewise upheld. 

There was a Latin version made from the Septuagint, including the 
Apocrypha, in Africa, and in use there at the end of the second century, 
very barbarous, and copying even Greek constructions. Of this text SS. 
Ambrose and Augustine used a recession. But our author seems to have 
been very independent, and to have made use of several different versions 
of holy Scripture, translating, as it would seem, often for himself from the 
Septuagint, referring also to Symmachus, Theodotion, and Aquila, though 
thinking less of the latter. When the prophets, he says, were moved by the 
Holy Spirit, they were troubled and darkened with their own ignorance. 
Prayer, he asserts, is necessary for understanding holy Scripture. Each 
Testament is not equally easy, and we are not to criticize what we do not 
understand. He speaks of the Hebrew as the truth, but states that the 
Septuagint added much that is useful. 

The Arians are repeatedly charged by St. Ambrose with falsifying and 
manipulating Scripture for their own ends, not always, it would seem, very 
justly, but the same charge is common one against all heretical bodies in 
early days. As to the Canon, he would seem to have no very definite rule. 
He admits Tobit as a prophetic, Judith as canonical, nor does he 
distinguish between canonical and deuterocanonical, while the sapiential 
books are all attributed to Solomon. He quotes Baruch as Jeremiah, and 
refers to the History of Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, and other 
apocryphal works as "Scripture." Ezra, he says, re-established holy 
Scripture by memory, and he quotes the fourth book of Esdras. 



16 
5. LIFE OF ST. AMBROSE. 

St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, one of the four Latin doctors of the 
Church, was descended from a Roman family of some distinction, some 
time Christian, and counting martyrs as well as state officials amongst its 
members. 

His father, likewise names Ambrosius, was prefect of the Gauls, an office 
the jurisdiction of which extended over Spain, Britain, Cis- and 
Trans- Alpine Gaul. His chief official residence was Treves, where 
probably St. Ambrose was born, as seems most likely, A.D. 340. 

After his father's death, his mother and his elder brother, Satyrus, went 
with St. Ambrose to Rome, not earlier than 353, where his elder sister, 
Marcellina, received the veil at Christmas from Pope Liberius, the exact 
year being uncertain. 

Here the future bishop devoted himself to legal studies, in which he met 
with great success. His skill in law and general reputation soon led to his 
advancement, and about A.D. 370 he was appointed by the Praetorian 
Prefect Probus governor of Liguria and AEmilia, with the rank of consular. 
On this occasion Probus is said to have closed an address to St. Ambrose 
with the words, "Go and act, not as a judge, but as a bishop." This advice 
was so well followed by Ambrose, that owing to his equity and kindness 
the people came to look up to him rather as a father than as a judge. 

After some few years Auxentius, the intended Arian Bishop of Milan, 
died, A.D. 374, and it is said that during the discussion as to the 
appointment of his successor a child cried out in the assembly, "Ambrose 
Bishop," and although he was but a catechumen and so canonically 
unqualified, the multitude immediately elected him by acclamation. 

St. Ambrose did all in his power, even, if we accept the statements of his 
biographer Paulinus, probably a clerk of Milan, resorting to some 
questionable expedients, to escape from the dignity laid upon him, but 
when his election was ratified by the Emperor Valentinian, he recognized 
his appointment as being the will of God, and insisted on being baptized 
by a Catholic priest. Eight days later, December 7, A.D. 374, he was 
consecrated Bishop. 



17 

The first care of the new bishop was at once to divest himself of his 
worldly property, giving his silver and gold to the poor and the Church, 
and committing the management of his estates, except a life interest for his 
sister, to his brother Satyrus, who gave up his own office to come to his 
assistance, and enable him to devote himself wholly to theological study 
and his other episcopal duties. 

His chief studies were holy Scripture and ecclesiastical writers, especially 
St. Basil the Great and Didymus of Alexandria, from whom no less a man 
than St. Jerome accused him of plagiarizing. His natural abilities and 
thorough knowledge of Greek stood him in good stead, when, as he 
himself, he had to learn and to teach at the same time. 

The life of St. Ambrose was a pattern of the discharge of episcopal duties. 
He spent much time daily in study and devotion, besides the more public 
duties of his office. He preached every Sunday and at certain seasons 
daily. His labors in preparing catechumens for baptism were blessed with 
great success, amongst those taught by him being St. Augustine. 

But the zeal and courage of the new Bishop were soon tried. The Empress 
mother Justina was still an Arian, but had little influence during the life of 
the Emperor Gratian, who was much attached to St. Ambrose. After his 
murder, however, A.D. 383, his brother Valentinian II., a boy of only 
twelve years of age, ascended the throne and was naturally much under his 
mother' s influence. Justina led him to support a demand of the Arians for 
the use of the Portian basilica, situated outside the walls of Milan. This 
being refused, a second application was made for the large and newer 
basilica within the city. Ambrose replied, "The Emperor has his palaces, 
let him leave the churches to the Bishop." Soldiers were sent to secure the 
delivery of the basilica, but St. Ambrose with the faithful occupied the 
building and remained within, singing psalms and hymns till the soldiers 
retired. 

St. Ambrose was no less successful in his zeal against the expiring 
heathenism of Italy than against Arianism. One of the many remnants till 
recent times of heathen worship had bee the Altar of Victory in the 
Senate-house at Rome, which was removed under Gratian; the prefect of 
Rome, Symmachus, himself a heathen but a friend of St. Ambrose, 



18 

appealed to Valentinian II. that it might be restored, and Ambrose 
successfully opposed this appeal in two Epistles (17, 18) addressed to the 
young Emperor. Yet again, when Theodosius assumed to imperial power 
[A.D. 387], a renewed attempt was made and once more frustrated. Later 
on, Eugenius the usurper judged it politic to take the heathen's side, the 
Altar of Victory was once more set up, and the temples stood open as in 
the days of old. But this triumph lasted only for a brief period. When 
Theodosius defeated the usurper at Aquileia, in the spring of 394, he also 
defeated paganism, which sank to rise no more as a public religion, though 
it long lingered in private amidst indifference, toleration, and at times 
persecution. 

The influence exercised by Ambrose upon the rulers of his day is 
sufficiently manifested by these facts, but he had the courage to use not 
only influence, but, when needed, rebuke and Church discipline. 

Only a few months after his elevation to the see of Milan, he remonstrated 
with Valentinian I. concerning the severity of his rule and other abuses, and 
required amendment. The Emperor' s reply did him honor: "Well, if I have 
offended, prescribe for me the remedies which the law of God requires." 
Again, on another occasion, in 390, Theodosius had put down a seditious 
movement in Thessalonica with great severity, causing some 7,000 persons 
to be slain. St. Ambrose at once, disregarding the possible consequences to 
himself, wrote him a letter (Ep. 51) on the subject, exhorting him to 
repentance, and pointing out that he could not permit him to be present at 
the celebration of the Mysteries, till he had openly testified in his sorrow. 
At another time when the same Emperor had ventured into the sanctuary 
or chancel of the church, which was the right of the clergy alone, St. 
Ambrose rebuked him and caused him to retire. 

These acts of ecclesiastical discipline were also accompanied by others in 
which the great Bishop was able in temporal matters to assist the imperial 
family. 

Twice on behalf of the young Emperor Valentinian II. he undertook a 
mission to Treves, to see the usurper Maximus, and when Valentinian 
died, St. Ambrose delivered a striking oration at his funeral, recording his 
many virtues. Theodosius did not survive his victory over Eugenius for 



19 

many months. In January of the following year [A.D. 395], he died at 
Milan, and the funeral oration which St. Ambrose pronounced over him is 
also extant. 

Yet whilst thus devoting much time to weighty affairs of State, the Bishop 
never neglected the duties of his office. He preached every Sunday, at great 
festivals, once or more often, every day. He celebrated the Holy Mysteries 
daily. His life was marked by perfect purity, sympathy, energy, and 
devotion. He was always ready to help those requiring assistance, and so 
when Augustine came to Milan to teach rhetoric, A.D. 384, he was kindly 
received and fascinated. Probably he owed his conversion even more to the 
life and character than to the teaching of St. Ambrose. 

One subject St. Ambrose never tired of recommending was Virginity; and 
such was the power of his exhortations that mothers used to forbid their 
daughters to attend his sermons and addresses. 

The indefatigable zeal of the great Bishop further exhibited itself in the 
number of his writings. Many of them consist of addresses subsequently 
worked up into treatises, and are on all subjects, dogmatic, controversial, 
exegetical, and ascetic. There remain also a large number of valuable letters, 
and some hymns, probably from four to twelve of those ascribed to him 
being genuine, and in use to the present day. 

But besides his writings and his resistance to the attacks of Arianism, 
heathenism, or the secular power, St. Ambrose devoted himself to actively 
defending the cause of the Church and of orthodoxy wherever he had the 
opportunity. Although the death of Satyrus, A.D. 379, must have greatly 
added to the troubles of St. Ambrose, he was as watchful as ever against all 
possibilities of heretical aggression. To his care and opposition to the 
party of the Empress Justina it was owing that the city of Sirmium was 
preserved in A.D. 381 from receiving an Arian bishop. And in the same 
year, when the Arians, hoping for large support from the East, had almost 
persuaded the Emperor to summon a general council at Aquileia, St. 
Ambrose prevailed upon him to summon only the nieghboring bishops, 
and what might have been a serious evil was avoided. 

In such ways the holy man, embracing in his far-seeing care the interests of 
religion far and wide, spent his days in unceasing labor till his health failed 



20 

in the year 397, when, as is related by Paulinus, Count Stilicho, saying that 
the loss of such a man threatened destruction to Italy, persuaded the 
nobles of the city to request St.; Ambrose that he would pray for longer 
life. But the Saint replied: "I have not so lived amongst you as to be 
ashamed of living, and I do not fear to die, for we have a good Lord." As 
some of the bystanders were discussing in whispers who would be St. 
Ambrose's successor, and mentioned Simplicianus, he overheard them, and 
said, "An old man, but good." For the last few hours of his life Ambrose 
lay with his arms extended in the form of a cross, praying. Honoratus, 
Bishop of Vercellae, lying in another room, heard himself called thrice, and 
coming down, offered him the Body of the Lord, after receiving which St. 
Ambrose breathed his last, on Good Friday night, April 4-5, A.D. 397, and 
was laid to rest on Easter morning in the Ambrosian liturgy and rites, 
differing considerably from the Roman use of the rest of the churches of 
Italy, continue to this day, though doubtless with many modifications 
subsequent to the time of St. Ambrose. 



6. WRITINGS OF ST. AMBROSE. 

The extant writings of St. Ambrose may be divided under six heads, I. 
Dogmatic; II. Exegetic; III. Moral; IV. Sermons; V. Letters; VI. A few 
Hymns. 

/. Dogmatic And 

Controversial Works. 

1 . De Fide. The chief of these are the Five Books on the Faith, of which 
the two first were written in compliance with a request of the Emperor 
Gratian, A.D. 378. Books III.-V. were written in 379 or 380, and seem to 
have been worked up from addresses delivered to the people [V. prol. 9, 
11; III. 143; IV. 1 19]. This treatise vindicates the Divinity of Christ from 
the attacks of the Arians, and has always enjoyed the highest reputation, 
being quoted and referred to again and again. 

2. De Spiritu Sancto. The three books on the Holy Spirit may be 
considered as a continuation of the above treatise, and were also addressed 



21 

to Gratian in compliance with his request, A.D. 381. In this treatise St. 
Ambrose shows that the Holy Spirit is God, and of one nature and 
substance with the Father and the Son. He makes use of the Greek writers, 
SS. Didymus, Basil the Great, and Athanasius, and was on this ground 
attacked by St. Jerome. See Rufinus,A/?o/. adv. Hieron, II. 

3. De Incarnationis Dominicae Sacramento. The book on the Mystery of 
the Lord's Incarnation owed its origin to a challenge to dispute publicly 
given to St. Ambrose by two Arian chamberlains of Gratian. On the day 
appointed they were, as Paulinus relates in his life of St. Ambrose, thrown 
out of the chariot which was conveying them and killed. On the next day, 
that the people might not be disappointed, this discourse was delivered, 
but the reference made to the absence of the challengers hardly suits the 
story of Paulinus. The treatise is a very valuable argument in defense of 
our Lord's Divinity and Eternity, and that He is perfect God and perfect 
Man. In rewriting the address the Bishop added a refutation of the 
argument that the Begotten and the unbegotten could not be of one nature 
and substance. The treatise may be considered as a supplement to that 
concerning the Faith. 

4. De Mysteriis. A valuable treatise on the Mysteries, under which title St. 
Ambrose includes Baptism, with its complement, Confirmation, and the 
Eucharist. It is somewhat similar to the Catechese Mystagogicae of St. 
Cyril of Jerusalem, expounding the doctrine and ceremonies of these 
sacraments. On doctrinal grounds the authenticity of the work has been 
impugned by some modern writers, but there is no sufficient foundation 
for their arguments, as the teaching may be paralleled in many other 
passages of St. Ambrose. The date is not certain, but may be about A.D. 
387. 

5. Libri duo de poenitentia. These books on Penitence were written about 
A.D. 384, against the Novatians. In the first book the writer proves that 
the power of forgiving sins was left by Christ to His Church. In the second 
book, insisting on the necessity of repentance and confession, he also 
refutes the Novatian interpretations of Hebrews 6:4-6 and St. Matthew 
12:31-32. This treatise has also undeservedly been questioned on doctrinal 
grounds by some moderns. 



22 
These treatises are all translated in this volume. 

2. EXEGETICAL WORKS. 

St. Ambrose was in the habit of explaining various books of holy Scripture 
in courses of lectures, which he subsequently worked up, often at the 
request of friends, into treatises in the shape in which they have come 
down to us. Of the class we have: 

1 . Hexaemeron. This treatise expounding the literal and moral sense of the 
work of the six days of creation [Genesis 1:1-26], consists of nine 
addresses to the people of Milan, delivered in the last week of Lent, 
probably A.D. 389, and is now divided into six books. The writer has 
studied Origen, by followed rather the teaching of St. Hippolytus and 
Basil the Great, though he expresses himself often quite in a different 
sense. 

2. De Paradiso. This is the earliest or one of the earliest of extant writings 
of St. Ambrose, though the exact date is uncertain. In it he discusses what 
and where Paradise was, and the question of the life of our first parents 
there, the temptation, fall and its results, and answers certain cavils of the 
Gnostics and Manichees. He also enters into an allegorical exposition 
comparing Paradise with the human soul. 

3. De Cain etAbel. The treatise is now divided into two books, but the 
division is too inartistic to have been made by the writer. As to the date, it 
was later than the last treatise, but probably not many months. The 
interpretation are very mystical, and touch upon moral and dogmatic 
questions. 

4. De Noe stArca. The treatise has reached us in a mutilated condition. It 
was written probably before the De Officiis and De Abraham, but after the 
works on Paradise and Cain and Abel, though the exact date cannot be 
determined. The exposition is literal and allegorical. 

5. De Patriarchis. Seven books preached and written at various dates 
about 387 or 388. The same kind of interpretation is followed in these as 
in the former treatises. 



23 

6. Defuga saeculi. Written probably about A.D. 389-390. An instructive 
treatise setting forth the desirability of avoiding the dangers of the world, 
and for those who must live in the world, showing how to pass through 
them most safely. 

7. De Elia etjejunio. A treatise composed from addresses delivered during 
Lent, certainly after A.D. 386, possibly 389. 

8. De Tobia. A work quoted by St. Augustine (C. Jul Pelag. I.), consisting 
of sermons of the story of Tobias, and chiefly directed against the practice 
of usury. 

9. De Nabuthe Jezraelita. One or two sermons against avarice, probably 
written about A.D. 395. 

10. Libri iv. de interpellatione Job et David. The first and third books have 
Job, the second and fourth have David, for their subject, and formed a 
course of sermons the date of which is uncertain. 

11. Apologia prophetae David and Theodosium Augustum. A number of 
addresses delivered, it would seem, about A.D. 384, quoted also by St. 
Augustine. 

12. Ennationes in xii. Psalmos Davidicos. Commentaries on Psalms 
1:35-40, 43, 45, 47, 48, 61 (according to St. Ambrose's numbering). These 
seem to have been partly preached, partly dictated at various dates, and 
much in them is borrowed from St. Basil. 

13. Expositio Pslami 118. This treatise is one of the most carefully worked 
out of all the writings of St. Ambrose and consists of twenty-two 
addresses to the faithful, each address comprising one division of the 
Psalm. From various allusions, it would seem that the complete work dates 
from about A.D. 388. 

14. Expositio Evangelii secundum Lucam. The ten books of this 
commentary consist likewise of sermons in which St. Ambrose explained 
the Gospel during a period of one or two years, in 386 and 387. 



3. Ethical Writings. 



24 



Among the ethical or moral writings of St. Ambrose, the first place is 
deservedly assigned to: 

1 .De Officiis Ministrorum. In three books, which are translated in this 
series. 

2. De Virginibus. Three books concerning Virgins, addressed to his sister 
Marcellina in the year 377, probably, like most of the treatises of St. 
Ambrose, revised from addresses, the first of which was delivered on the 
festival of St. Agnes, January 21. This would seem to have been perhaps 
the very earliest of the writings of St. Ambrose, Cassian, and others. 

3. De Vidius. This shorter work, concerning Widows, was probably 
written not very long after the last mentioned treatise. 

4. De Virginitate. A treatise on Virginity, the date of which cannot 
certainly be fixed, but the writing De Vidius is referred to in chapter 9. 

5. De Institutione Virginis. A treatise on the training and discipline of a 
Virgin, addressed to Eusebius, either bishop or a noble of Bologna, after St. 
Ambrose had admitted his niece to the rank of Virgins, probably about 
A.D. 391 to 392. 

6. Exhortatio Virginitatis. A commendation of Virginity preached on the 
occasion of the consecration of a church at Florence by St. Ambrose, A.D. 
393 or 394. 

6. Sermons And Addresses. 

1. Contra Auxentium. A sermon against Auxentius, concerning giving up 
the basilicas to the Arians, usually inserted between the twenty-first and 
the twenty- second of the letters of St. Ambrose. 

2. De Excessu fratris Satyri. The two addresses on the occasion of the 
death of St. Ambrose's brother Satyrus, translated in this volume. 

3. De obitu Valentiniani Consolatio. The Emperor Valentinian having been 
murdered by Arbogastes, Count of Vienne, his body was brought to 
Milan, and remained two months unburied. At last Theodosius sent the 



25 

necessary rescript, and at the funeral solemnities St. Ambrose delivered the 
address entitled, "Consolation." 

4. De obitu Theodosii oratio. A discourse delivered forty days after the 
death of the Emperor Theodosius before the Emperor Honorius at Milan. 

5. THE LETTERS OF ST. AMBROSE. 



The Benedictine Editors of St. Ambrose have divided his Epistles into two 
classes: the first comprising those to which they thought it possible to 
assign dates; the second those which afford no data for a conclusion. 
Probably in many cases the exact year is not so certain as the editors have 
made it appear, but they seem arranged in a fairly probably consecutive 
order. 

THE LETTERS. 

1. To the Emperor Gratian, in reply to his request for a treatise on the 
Faith. Written A.D. 379, before August, as Gratian came to Milan in that 
month. 

2. To Constantius, a bishop, on episcopal duties, and commending him to 
the care of the vacant see of Forum Cornelii, or Imola. Probably written 
about A.D. 379. 

3. 4. To Cornelius, Bishop of Comum, the first a friendly letter, the second 
containing also an invitation to the consecration of a church by Bassianus, 
Bishop of Laus Pompeia, now Lodi Vecchio, near Milan. Written probably 
after A.D. 381. 

5, 6. To Syagrius, Bishop of Verona. On a charge falsely brought against 
the Virgin Indicia. They may have been written A.D. 380. 

7, 8. To Justus, perhaps Bishop of Lyons. On holy Scripture. If the 
conjecture that Justus was the Bishop of Lyons is correct, written about 
380 or 381. 

9-12. Letters concerning the Council of Aquileia, held A.D. 381, to the 
bishops of the provinces of Gaul, to the Emperor Gratian and his 



26 

colleagues. Two men, Palladius and Secundianus, held Arian opinions, and 
the former appears to have asked Gratian to convoke a General Council, 
pleading that he was unjustly condemned. St. Ambrose pointed out to the 
Emperor that such a question as the orthodoxy of two persons could be 
settled by a local council in Italy; and as a result, by the Emperor's 
mandate, a council of Italian bishops met at Aquileia, other bishops having 
also permission to attend. Palladius and Secundianus were condemned, and 
these letters have reference to the proceedings at the council. They were 
probably written by St. Ambrose in the name of the council, A.D. 381. 

13, 14. Two letters addressed to Theodosius, the former relating the 
decisions of a council, probably held at Milan, on the Meletian schism at 
Antioch, and the latter further expressing the desire of the bishops for a 
council on this subject, and also on the opinions of Apollinaris. Written 
A.D. 383. 

15. To the Bishops of Macedonia, in reply to their notification of the 
death of Acholius, Bishop of Thessalonica, who baptized Theodosius, and 
had met St. Ambrose at a council in Rome. Written A.D. 383. 

16. To Anicius, on his election to succeed Acholius, whose labors and life 
are commended by St. Ambrose. Written A.D. 383. 

17. 18. On the occasion of the attempt of Symmachus and the heathen 
senators to procure the restitution of the image and Altar of Victory in the 
roman Senate-house, frustrated by St. Ambrose, A.D. 384. 

19. To Vigilius, Bishop of Trent, subsequently martyred, written probably 
about A.D. 385. 

20. To his sister, Marcellina, giving an account of the frustrated attempts 
of the Arian and imperial party to gain possession of a basilica at Milan, 
A.D. 385. 

21. To the Emperor Valentinian II., declining the challenge to dispute with 
the Arian Auxentius before lay judges. A.D. 386. 

22. To his sister Marcellina, giving an account of the finding of the bodies 
of SS. Gervasius and Protasius, and of the consequent miracles. Written 
A.D. 386. 



27 

23. To the bishops of the province of AEmilia, on the proper date for the 
observance of Easter, in 387. Written probably A.D. 386. 

24. To Valentinian II., with an account of St. Ambrose's second mission to 
Maximus on his behalf. Written probably A.D. 387. 

25. 26. Inscribed the former to Studius, the second to Irenaeus, but from 
internal evidence these appear to be the same person. It deals with the 
question, how far a judge being a Christian may lawfully sentence any one 
to death. Written probably about A.D. 388. 

27-33. Addressed to Irenaeus, on various questions. Written about A.D. 
387. 

34-36. To Orontianus, a cleric, on the soul and other questions. Written 
after 386. 

37, 38. To Simplicianus, who became the successor of St. Ambrose in the 
see of Milan, setting forth that holiness is perfect freedom. 

39. To Faustinus, on the occasion of the death of a sister. Written 
probably after A.D. 387. 

40. To Theodosius. The Jewish synagogue at Callunicum in Mesopotamia 
having been destroyed by the Christians, and a meeting-house of the 
Valentinian heretics also burnt by the Catholics, Theodosius ordered that 
the bishop should rebuild the synagogue at his own expense, and the 
monks be punished. St. Ambrose remonstrates with the Emperor, and it 
would seem, from the following letter to his sister, at first unsuccessfully. 

41. To his sister Marcellina, relating the circumstances alluded to above, 
and telling her of his sermon before the Emperor, and of his subsequent 
refusal to celebrate the Eucharist, until the Emperor had promised to 
rescind the order. The date of the two letters is A.D. 388. 

42. Reply of St. Ambrose and a synod at Milan to the notification of Pope 
Siricius announcing the sentence of excommunication passed upon Jovinian 
and his followers. 

43. 44. To Horontianus, in reply to his inquiries on some points connected 
with the Creation. 



28 

45. To Sabinus, Bishop of Placentia, in answer to questions concerning 
Paradise. 

46. To the same, on the subject of an Apollinarian heretic. 
47-49. To the same, with books and on private matters. 

50. To Chromatius, probably Bishop of Aquileia, explaining how evil men 
may be used to utter true prophecies. 

51. To Theodosius, after the massacre at Thessalonica. Written A.D. 390. 

52. A private letter to Titianus. 

53. To Theodosius, to express the sorrow of St. Ambrose at the death of 
Valentinian II., slain by Arbogastes. 

54. 55. To Eusebius, not, it would seem, the Bishop of Bologna who was 
present at the Council of Aquileia, but rather a lay friend to whom St. 
Ambrose wrote his treatise on the training of a virgin. Probably written 
A.D. 392 or 393. 

56. To Theophilus. The troubles of the church of Antioch through the 
Meletian schism might have terminated on the death of Paulinus, had he 
not on his deathbed consecrated Evagrius as his successor in violation of 
the canons. Theodosius, being pressed by the Western bishops, now 
summoned a council at Capua, commanding Flavian to attend, which 
command he however disobeyed. The council referred the matter to 
Theophilus of Alexandria and the bishops of Egypt. But Flavian, as 
Theophilus had informed St. Ambrose, refused to submit to their decision. 
This is the reply of St. Ambrose advising Theophilus to summon Flavian 
once more, and communicate the result to Pope Siricius. The letter must 
have been written quite at the end of A.D. 391, or the beginning of 392. 

57. To Eugenius the usurper, to avoid whom St. Ambrose had left Milan, 
and to whose letters he had sent no reply. Written A.D. 393. 

58. To Sabinus, Bishop, on the resolution of Paulinus and Therasia to 
forsake the world. Written probably A.D. 393. 

59. To Severus, Bishop probably of Naples, telling him of James, a Persian 
priest, who had resolved to retire from the world into Campania, and 



29 

contrasting this with his own troubles, owing to the invasion of Eugenius, 
A.D. 393 or 394. 

60. To Paternus, against a proposed incestuous marriage. 

61. To Theodosius, after his victory over Eugenius. Written A.D. 394. 

62. To the same, urging him to be merciful to the followers of Eugenius. 
Written in the same year. 

63. To the Church at Vercellae. 

The second division of the letters, being those which cannot be dated, 
begins here in the Benedictine Edition. 

64. To Irenaeus, on the Manna. 

65. To Simplicianus, on Exodus 24:6. 

66. To Romulus, on Aaron's making the calf of the golden earrings. 

67. To Simplicianus, showing how Moses yielded to Aaron in matters 
relating to his priestly character. 

68. To Romulus. Explanation of the text Deuteronomy 28:23. 

69. To Irenaeus, answering a question as to the prohibition under severe 
penalties in the Mosaic law, of disguising the sex by dress. 

70. 71. To Horontianus, on part of the prophecy of Micah. 

72. To Constantius, on the rite of circumcision. 

73-76. To Irenaeus. Why the law was given, and the scope of the Epistle 
to the Ephesians. The letter numbered 75 is plainly a continuation of 74, 
although inscribed to Clementianus, a difficulty similar to that about letter 
26. 

77, 78. To Horontianus, contrasting the condition of the Jew and the 
Christian. 

79, 80. To Bellicius, on recovery from sickness, and on the miracle of 
healing the man blind from his birth. 

81. To certain clergy, against despondency. 



30 

82. To Marcellus, concerning a lawsuit. 

83. To Sisinnius, commending him for forgiving his son, who had married 
without consulting him. 

84. To Cynegius. 

85. 86. To Siricius, with thanks for letters, and commending Priscus. 

87. To Segatius [more probably Phaebadius], Bishop of Agens, and 
Delphinus, Bishop of Bordeaux. Polybius, mentioned in the letter, was 
proconsul of Africa between the years 380 and 390. 

88. To Atticus. Commendation of Priscus. 

89. To Alypius. Acknowledgment of letters. 

90. To Antonius. On the mutual affection of himself and St. Ambrose. 

91. To Candidianus, probably a fellow-bishop. A letter of affection. 

6. HYMNS. 



During the persecutions stirred up by the Arian Empress Justina, A.D. 
385-6, referred to in his 20th letter, St. Ambrose and the faithful spent the 
whole night in the basilica, and the holy Bishop employed the people in 
singing psalms and hymns. A large number of hymns have been attributed 
to St. Ambrose, the number having by some editors been brought down to 
twelve, of which, however, only four are certainly his compositions. 

1. Eterne rerum Conditor, referred to by St. Augustine, Retract. I., and by 
St. Ambrose himself, Hexaem. V. The hymn is still in use at Lauds on 
Sunday. 

2. Deus Creator omnium. Quoted by St. Augustine, Conf. IX. 

3. Jam surigit hora tertia. Also quoted by St. Augustine. 

4. Veni Redemptor gentium. A Christmas hymn, quoted by Pope Celestine, 
A.D. 430, in a sermon against the Nestorians, preached before a synod at 
Rome, and also by other writers. 



31 

Of other hymns one commencing, Illuminans Altissimus, is quoted by 
Cassiodorus as an Epiphany hymn by St. Ambrose, and the same author 
refers to another, Orabo mente Dominum. The Benedictine Editors admit 
six other hymns, but they are supported by no authority anterior to 
Venerable Bede. 

7. DOUBTFUL AND SPURIOUS WORKS. 



This volume cannot of course comprehend the arguments and discussions 
necessary for any critical examination of certain works whether doubtful or 
certainly spurious, but their names may be given and certain conclusions 
stated. 

1. Five books on the Jewish war, ordinarily attributed to Hegesippus. This 
is a translation into Latin and a condensation in part of the well-known 
work of Josephus. Ihm, a very thorough student of St. Ambrose, seems 
quite disposed to maintain after careful examination that this is the work of 
St. Ambrose. 

2. De lege Dei. This treatise, a sort of compendium of Roman law in the 
fourth century, and comparison of it with the law of Moses, is ascribed, in 
a translation published by Mai, to St. Ambrose, who is said to have 
undertaken the work at the command of Theodosius. On the authenticity, 
however, of this treatise there probably will always remain much doubt. 

3. Among works more or less doubtful are De Sacramentis, admitted by 
the Benedictines, but rejected, and apparently on sufficient grounds, by 
Ihm. 

4. Apologia David altera. Suspected by Erasmus, Tillemont, and Ihm. 

5. De lapsu Virginis consecratae. A severe castigation of a fallen virgin and 
of her seducer. The treatise seems to have been written by a certain Bishop 
of Nicetas, and a MS. At speaks of it as having been revised by St. 
Ambrose. 

6. There are further three brief addresses ascribed by some persons to St. 
Ambrose, touching on the question of selling all and giving to the poor. 



32 

Some of the matter is like St. Ambrose, but the same cannot be said of the 
diction and style. 

8. LOST WRITINGS OF ST. AMBROSE. 



1 . Expositio Isaiae prophetiae, referred to by St. Augustine as well as by 
St. Ambrose himself. 

2. Liber de Sacrameto regenerationis sive de philosphia, referred to by St. 
Augustine. 

3. Libellus and Pansophium puerum, written A.D. 393-4, according to 
Paulinus in his life of St. Ambrose. 

4. Libri quatuor regnorum, referred to in the introduction to the work on 
the Jewish war. 

5. Expositio fidei, quoted by Theodoret and others as a writing of St. 
Ambrose. 



33 
ON THE DUTIES OF THE CLERGY 

INTRODUCTION 



St. Am b ro se , esteeming very highly the dignity of the ministerial office, 
was most desirous that the clergy of his diocese should live worthily of 
their high vocation, and be good and profitable examples to the people. 
Consequently he undertook the following treatise, setting forth the duties 
of the clergy, and taking as a model the treatise of Cicero, De Officiis. 

The writer says that his object is to impress upon those whom he has 
ordained the lessons which he had previously taught them. Like Cicero, he 
treats that which is right, becoming, or honorable [decorum], and what is 
expedient [utile] ; but with reference not to this life but to that which is to 
come, teaching in the first book that which is becoming or honorable; in the 
second, what is expedient; and in the third, considering both in 
conjunction. 

In the first book he divides duties into "ordinary," or the way of the 
commandments, binding upon all alike; and "perfect," which consist in 
following the counsels. After treating then of some elementary duties, such 
as those towards parents and elders, he touches upon the two principles 
which lead the mind, reason and appetite, and shows that what is 
becoming consists in thinking of good and right things, and in the 
subjection of the appetite to reason, and supplies certain rules and 
examples, ending with a discussion of the four Cardinal Virtues, Prudence, 
Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance. 

In the second book, passing from what is becoming to what is expedient, 
he points out that we can only measure what is really expedient by 
reference to eternal life, in contradiction to the errors of heathen 
philosophers, and shows that what is expedient consists in the knowledge 
of God and in good living. Incidentally he shows that what is becoming is 



34 

really that which is expedient, and ends the book with several chapters of 
practical considerations. 

In the third book he treats of duties of perfection, and lays down as a rule 
that in everything we must inquire what is expedient, not for individuals, 
but for many or for all. Nothing is to be striven after which is not 
becoming; to this everything must give place, not only expediency but 
even friendship and life itself. By many examples he then proves how holy 
men have sought after what was becoming, and have thereby secured what 
was expedient. 

The object of St. Ambrose in basing his treatise on the lines of that of 
Cicero would seem to have been the confutation of some of the false 
principles of heathenism, and to show how much higher Christian morality 
is than that of the Gentiles. The treatise was probably composed about 
A.D. 391. 



35 
THREE BOOKS ON THE DUTIES OF THE CLERGY 

BY 

ST. AMBROSE, BISHOP OF MILAN 



BOOK I 

CHAPTER 1 



A Bishop's special office is to teach; St. Ambrose himself, however, 
has to learn in order that he may teach; or rather has to teach what 
he has not learnt; at any rate learning and teaching with himself 
must go on together. 

LIT hink I shall not seem to be taking too much on myself, if, in the 
midst of my children, I yield to my desire to teach, seeing that the master 
of humility himself has said: "Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will 
teach you the fear of the Lord." Wherein one may observe both the 
humility and the grace of his reverence for God. For in saying "the fear of 
the Lord," which seems to be common to all, he has described the chief 
mark of reverence for God. As, however, fear itself is the beginning of 
wisdom and the source of blessedness — for they that fear the Lord are 
blessed — he has plainly marked himself out as the teacher for instruction 
in wisdom, and the guide to the attainment of blessedness. 

2. We therefore, being anxious to imitate his reverence for God, and not 
without justification in dispensing grace, deliver to you as to children those 
things which the Spirit of Wisdom has imparted to him, and which have 
been made clear to us through him, and learnt by sight and by example. For 
we can no longer now escape from the duty of teaching which the needs of 
the priesthood have laid upon us, though we tried to avoid it: "For God 



36 

gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, 
pastors and teachers." 

3. 1 do not therefore claim for myself the glory of the apostles (for who 
can do this save those whom the Son of God Himself has chosen?); nor the 
grace of the prophets, nor the virtue of the evangelists, nor the cautious 
care of the pastors. I only desire to attain to that care and diligence in the 
sacred writings, which the Apostle has placed last amongst the duties of 
the saints; and this very: thing I desire, so that, in the endeavor to teach, I 
may be able to learn. For one is the true Master, Who alone has not learnt, 
what He taught all; but men learn before they teach, and receive from Him 
what they may hand on to others. 

4. But not even this was the case with me. For I was carried off from the 
judgment seat, and the garb [infulis] of office, to enter on the priesthood, 
and began to teach you, what I myself had not yet learnt. So it happened 
that I began to teach before I began to learn. Therefore I must learn and 
teach at the same time, since I had no leisure to learn before. 



37 
CHAPTER 2 



Manifold dangers are incurred by speaking; the remedy for which 
Scripture shows to consist in silence. 

5 . N ow what ought we to learn before everything else, but to be silent, that 
we may be able to speak? lest my voice should condemn me, before that of 
another acquit me; for it is written: "By thy words thou shalt be 
condemned." What need is there, then, that thou shouldest hasten to 
undergo the danger of condemnation by speaking, when thou cans, be more 
safe by keeping silent? How many have I seen to fall into sin by speaking, 
but scarcely one by keeping silent; and so it is more difficult to know how 
to keep silent than how to speak. I know that most persons speak because 
they do not know how to keep silent. It is seldom that any one is silent 
even when speaking profits him nothing. He is wise, then, who knows 
how to keep silent. Lastly, the Wisdom of God said: "The Lord hath given 
to me the tongue of learning, that I should know when it is good to speak." 
Justly, then, is he wise who has received of the Lord to know when he 
ought to speak. Wherefore the Scripture says well: "A wise man will keep 
silence until there is opportunity." 

6. Therefore the saints of the Lord loved to keep silence, because they 
knew that a man's voice is often the utterance of sin, and a man's speech is 
the beginning of human error. Lastly, the Saint of the Lord said: "I said, I 
will take heed to my ways, that I offend not in my tongue." For he knew 
and had read that it was a mark of the divine protection for a man to be hid 
from the scourge of his own tongue, and the witness of his own 
conscience. We are chastised by the silent reproaches of our thoughts, and 
by the judgment of conscience. We are chastised also by the lash of our 
own voice, when we say things whereby our soul is mortally injured, and 
our mind is sorely wounded. But who is there that has his heart clean from 
the impurities of sin, and does not offend in his tongue? And so, as he saw 
there was no one who could keep his mouth free from evil speaking, he laid 
upon himself the law of innocency by a rule of silence, with a view to 
avoiding by silence that fault which he could with difficulty escape in 
speaking. 



38 

7. Let us hearken, then, to the master of precaution: "I said, I will take 
heed to my ways;" that is, "I said to myself: in the silent biddings of my 
thoughts, I have enjoined upon myself, that I should take heed to my 
ways." Some ways there are which we ought to follow; others as to which 
we ought to take heed. We must follow the ways of the Lord, and take 
heed to our own ways, lest they lead us into sin. One can take heed if one 
is not hasty in speaking. The law says: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God" 
It said not: "Speak," but "Hear." Eve fell because she said to the man what 
she had not heard from the Lord her God. The first word from God says to 
thee: Hear! If thou hearest, take heed to thy ways; and if thou hast fallen, 
quickly amend thy way. For: "Wherein does a young man amend his way; 
except in taking heed to the word of the Lord?" Be silent therefore first of 
all, and hearken, that thou fail not in thy tongue. 

8. It is a great evil that a man should be condemned by his own mouth. 
Truly, if each one shall give account for an idle word, how much more for 
words of impurity and shame? For words uttered hastily are far worse 
than idle words. If, therefore, an account is demanded for an idle word, 
how much more will punishment be exacted for impious language? 



39 
CHAPTER 3 



Silence should not remain unbroken, nor should it arise from 
idleness. How heart and mouth must be guarded against inordinate 
affections. 

9 . W hat then? Ought we to be dumb? Certainly not. For: "there is a time 
to keep silence and a time to speak." If, then, we are to give account for an 
idle word, let us take care that we do not have to give it also for an idle 
silence. For there is also an active silence, such as Susanna's was, who did 
more by keeping silence than if she had spoken. For in keeping silence 
before men she spoke to God, and found no greater proof of her chastity 
than silence. Her conscience spoke where no word was heard, and she 
sought no judgment for herself at the hands of men, for she had the witness 
of the Lord. She therefore desired to be acquitted by Him, Who she knew 
could not be deceived in any way. Yea, the Lord Himself in the Gospel 
worked out in silence the salvation of men. David rightly therefore 
enjoined on himself not constant silence, but watchfulness. 

10. Let us then guard our hearts, let us guard our mouths. Both have been 
written about. In this place we are bidden to take heed to our mouth; in 
another place thou art told: "Keep thy heart with all diligence." If David 
took heed, wilt thou not take heed? If Isaiah had unclean lips — who said: 
"Woe is me, for I am undone, for I am a man, and have unclean lips" — if a 
prophet of the Lord had unclean lips, how shall we have them clean? 

11. But for whom was it written, unless it was for each one of us: "Hedge 
thy possession about with thorns, and bind up thy silver and gold, and 
make a door and a bar for thy mouth, and a yoke and a balance for thy 
words"? Thy possession is thy mind, thy gold thy heart, thy silver thy 
speech: "The words of the Lord are pure words, as silver tried in the fire." 
A good mind is also a good possession. And, further, a pure inner life is a 
valuable possession. Hedge in, then, this possession of thine, enclose it 
with thought, guard it with thorns, that is, with pious care, lest the fierce 
passions of the flesh should rush upon it and lead it captive, lest strong 
emotions should assault it, and, overstepping their bounds, carry off its 



40 

vintage. Guard thy inner self. Do not neglect or contemn it as though it 
were worthless, for it is a valuable possession; truly valuable indeed, for 
its fruit is not perishable and only for a time, but is lasting and of use for 
eternal salvation. Cultivate, therefore, thy possession, and let it be thy 
tilling ground. 

12. Bind up thy words that they run not riot, and grow wanton, and gather 
up sins for themselves in too much talking. Let them be rather confined, 
and held back within their own banks. An overflowing river quickly 
gathers mud. Bind up also thy meaning; let it not be left slack and 
unchecked, lest it be said of thee: "There is no healing balsam, nor oil, nor 
bandage to apply." Sobriety of mind has its reins, whereby it is directed 
and guided. 

13. Let there be a door to thy mouth, that it may be shut when need arises, 
and let it be carefully barred, that none may rouse thy voice to anger, and 
thou pay back abuse with abuse. Thou hast heard it read to-day: "Be ye 
angry and sin not." Therefore although we are angry (this arising from the 
motions of our nature, not of our will), let us not utter with our mouth one 
evil word, lest we fall into sin; but let there be a yoke and a balance to thy 
words, that is, humility and moderation, that thy tongue may be subject to 
thy mind. Let it be held in check with a tight rein; let it have its own means 
of restraint, whereby it can be recalled to moderation; let it utter swords 
tried by the scales of justice, that thee may be seriousness in our meaning, 
weight in our speech, and due measure in our words. 



41 

CHAPTER 4 



The same care must be taken that our speech proceed not from evil 
passions, but from good motives; for here it is that the devil is 
especially on the watch to catch us. 

1 4. If any one takes heed to this, he will be mild, gentle, modest. For in 
guarding his mouth, and restraining his tongue, and in not speaking before 
examining, pondering, and weighing his words — as to whether this should 
be said, that should be answered, or whether it be a suitable time for this 
remark — he certainly is practicing modesty, gentleness, patience. So he 
will not burst out into speech through displeasure or anger, nor give sign of 
any passion in his words, nor proclaim that the flames of lust are bunting 
in his language, or that the incentives of wrath are present in what he says. 
Let him act thus for fear that his words, which ought to grace his inner life, 
should at the last plainly show and prove that there is some vice in his 
morals. 

15. For then especially does the enemy lay his plans, when he sees 
passions engendered in us; then he supplies tinder; then he lays snares. 
Wherefore the prophet says not without cause, as we heard read to-day: 
"Surely He hath delivered me from the snare of the hunter and from the 
hard word." Symmachus said this means "the word of provocation;" 
others "the word that brings disquiet." The snare of the enemy is our 
speech — but that itself is also just as much an enemy to us. Too often we 
say something that our foe takes hold of, and whereby he wounds us as 
though by our own sword. How far better it is to perish by the sword of 
others than by our own! 

16. Accordingly the enemy tests our arms and clashes together his 
weapons. If he sees that I am disturbed, he implants the points of his 
darts, so as to raise a crop of quarrels. If I utter an unseemly word, he sets 
his snare. Then he puts before me the opportunity for revenge as a bait, so 
that in desiring to be revenged, I may put myself in the snare, and draw the 
death-knot tight for myself. If any one feels this enemy is near, he ought to 



42 

give greater heed to his mouth, lest he make room for the enemy; but not 
many see him. 



43 
CHAPTER 5 



We must guard also against a visible enemy when he incites us by 
silence; by the help of which alone we can escape from those greater 
than ourselves, and maintain that humility which we must display 
towards all. 

17. B ut we must also guard against him who can be seen, and who 
provokes us, and spurs us on, and exasperates us, and supplies what will 
excite us to licentiousness or lust. If, then, any one reviles us, irritates, 
stirs us up to violence, tries to make us quarrel; let us keep silence, let us 
not be ashamed to become dumb. For he who irritates us and does us an 
injury is committing sin, and wishes us to become like himself. 

18. Certainly if thou art silent, and hidest thy feelings, he is wont to say: 
"Why are you silent? Speak if you dare; but you dare not, you are dumb, I 
have made you speechless." If thou art silent, he is the more excited. He 
thinks himself beaten, laughed at, little thought of, and ridiculed. If thou 
answerest, he thinks he has become the victor, because he has found one 
like himself. For if thou art silent, men will say: "That man has been 
abusive, but this one held him in contempt." If thou return the abuse, they 
will say: "Both have been abusive." Both will be condemned, neither will 
be acquitted. Therefore it is his object to irritate, so that I may speak and 
act as he does. But it is the duty of a just man to hide his feelings and say 
nothing, to preserve the fruit of a good conscience, to trust himself rather 
to the judgment of good men than to the insolence of a calumniator, and to 
be satisfied with the stability of his own character. For that is: "To keep 
silence even from good words;" since one who has a good conscience ought 
not to be troubled by false words, nor ought he to make more of another's 
abuse than of the witness of his own heart. 

19. So, then, let a man guard also his humility. If, however, he is unwilling 
to appear too humble, he thinks as follows, and says within himself: "Am 
I to allow this man to despise me, and say such things to my face against 
me, as though I could not open my mouth before him? Why should I not 
also say something whereby I can grieve him? Am I to let him do me 



44 

wrong, as though I were not a man, and as though I could not avenge 
myself? Is he to bring charges against me as though I could not bring 
together worse ones against him?" 

20. Whoever speaks like this is not gentle and humble, nor is he without 
temptation. The tempter stirs him up, and himself puts such thoughts in 
his heart. Often and often, too, the evil spirit employs another person, and 
gets him to say such things to him; but do thou set thy foot firm on the 
rock. Although a slave should abuse, let the just man be silent, and if a 
weak man utter insults, let him be silent, and if a poor man should make 
accusations, let him not answer. These are the weapons of the just man, so 
that he may conquer by giving way, as those skilled in throwing the javelin 
are wont to conquer by giving way, and in flight to wound their pursuers 
with severer blows. 



45 

CHAPTER 6 



In this matter we must imitate David's silence and humility, so as 
not even to seem deserving of harm. 

2 1 . W hat need is there to be troubled when we hear abuse? Why do we 
not imitate him who says: "I was dumb and humbled myself, and kept 
silence even from good words"? Or did David only say this, and not act up 
to it? No, he also acted up to it. For when Shimei the son of Gera reviled 
him, David was silent; and although he was surrounded with armed men he 
did not return the abuse, nor sought revenge: nay, even when the son of 
Zeruiah spoke to him, because he wished to take vengeance on him, David 
did not permit it. He went on as though dumb, and humbled; he went on in 
silence; nor was he disturbed, although called a bloody man, for he was 
conscious of his own gentleness. He therefore was not disturbed by 
insults, for he had full knowledge of his own good works. 

22. He, then, who is quickly roused by wrong makes himself seem 
deserving of insult, even whilst he wishes to be shown not to deserve it. 
He who despises wrongs is better off than he who grieves over them. For 
he who despises them looks down on them, as though he feels them not; 
but he who grieves over them is tormented, just as though he actually felt 
them. 



46 
CHAPTER 7 



How admirably Psalm 39 takes the place of an introduction. Incited 
thereto by this psalm the saint determines to write on duties. He 
does this with more reason even than Cicero, who wrote on this 
subject to his son. How, further, this is so. 

23. N ot without thought did I make use of the beginning of this psalm, in 
writing to you, my children. For this psalm which the Prophet David gave 
to Jeduthun to sing, I urge you to regard, being delighted myself with its 
depth of meaning and the excellency of its maxims. For we have learnt in 
those words we have just shortly touched upon, that both patience in 
keeping silence and the duty of awaiting a fit time for speaking are taught 
in this psalm, as well as contempt of riches in the following verses, which 
things are the chief groundwork of virtues. Whilst, therefore, meditating on 
this psalm, it has come to my mind to write "on the Duties." 

24. Although some philosophers have written on this subject, — 
Panaetius, for instance, and his son amongst the Greek, Cicero amongst the 
Latin, writers — I did not think it foreign to my office to write also 
myself. And as Cicero wrote for the instruction of his son, so I, too, write 
to teach you, my children. For I love yon, whom I have begotten in the 
Gospel, no less than if you were my own true sons. For nature does not 
make us love more ardently than grace. We certainly ought to love those 
who we think will be with us for evermore, than those who will be with us 
in this world only. These often are born unworthy of their race, so as to 
bring disgrace on their father; but you we chose beforehand, to love. They 
are loved naturally, of necessity, which is not a sufficiently suitable and 
constant teacher to implant a lasting love. But ye are loved on the ground 
of our deliberate choice, whereby a great feeling of affection is combined 
with the strength of our love: thus one tests what one loves and loves what 
one has chosen. 



47 

CHAPTER 8 



The word "Duty" has been often used both by philosophers and in 
the holy Scriptures; from whence it is derived. 

25 . Since, therefore, the person concerned is one fit to write on the Duties, 
let us see whether the subject itself stands on the same ground, and 
whether this word is suitable only to the schools of the philosophers, or is 
also to be found in the sacred Scriptures. Beautifully has the Holy Spirit, 
as it happens, brought before us a passage in reading the Gospel to-day, as 
though He would urge us to write; whereby we are confirmed in our view, 
that the word officium, "duty," may also be used with us. For when 
Zacharias the priest was struck dumb in the temple, and could not speak, 
it is said: "And it came to pass that as soon as the days of his duty 
[officii] were accomplished, he departed to his own house." We read, 
therefore, that the word officium, "duty," can be used by us. 

26. And this is not inconsistent with reason, since we consider that the 
word officium (duty) is derived from efficere (to effect), and is formed 
with the change of one letter for the sake of euphony; or at any rate that 
you should do those things which injure [officiant] no one, but benefit all. 



48 
CHAPTER 9 



A duty is to be chosen from what is virtuous, and from what is useful, 
and also from the comparison of the two, one with the other; but 
nothing is recognized by Christians as virtuous or useful which is 
not helpful to the future life. This treatise on duty, therefore, will 
not be superfluous. 

27 . T he philosophers considered that duties were derived from what is 
virtuous and what is useful, and that from these two one should choose the 
better. Then, they say, it may happen that two virtuous or two useful 
things will clash together, and the question is, which is the more virtuous, 
and which the more useful? First, therefore, "duty" is divided into three 
sections: what is virtuous, what is useful, and what is the better of two. 
Then, again, these three are divided into five classes; that is, two that are 
virtuous, two that are useful, and, lastly, the right judgment as to the 
choice between them. The first they say has to do with the moral dignity 
and integrity of life; the second with the conveniences of life, with wealth, 
resources, opportunities; whilst a right judgment must underlie the choice 
of any Of them. This is what the philosophers say. 

28. But we measure nothing at all but that which is fitting and virtuous, 
and that by the rule of things future rather than of things present; and we 
state nothing to be useful but what will help us to the blessing of eternal 
life; certainly not that which will help us enjoy merely the present time. 
Nor do we recognize any advantages in opportunities and in the wealth of 
earthly goods, but consider them as disadvantages if not put aside, and to 
be looked on as a burden, when we have them, rather than as a loss when 
expended. 

29. This work of ours, therefore, is not superfluous, seeing that we and 
they regard duty in quite different ways. They reckon the advantages of 
this life among the good things, we reckon them among the evil things; for 
he who receives good things here, as the rich man in the parable, is 
tormented there; and Lazarus, who endured evil things here, there found 
comfort. Lastly, those who do not read their writings may read ours if 



49 

they will — if, that is, they do not require great adornment of language or a 
skillfully-treated subject, but are satisfied with the simple charm of the 
subject itself. 



50 

CHAPTER 10 



What is seemly is often found in the sacred writings long before it 
appears in the books of the philosophers. Pythagoras borrowed the 
law of his silence from David. David's rule, however, is the best, for 
our first duty is to have due measure in speaking. 

30. We are instructed and taught that "what is seemly" is put in our 
Scriptures in the first place. (In Greek it is called npknov) For we read: "A 
Hymn be-seems Thee, O God, in Sion," In Greek this is: Eoi 
Ttpercei'uu.vof; 6 6eo<; ev Eicov. And the Apostle says: "Speak the things 
which become sound doctrine." And elsewhere: "For it beseemed Him 
through Whom are all things and for Whom are all things, in bringing many 
sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through 
sufferings." 

31. Was Panaetius or Aristotle, who also wrote on duty," earlier than 
David? Why, Pythagoras himself, who lived before the time of Socrates, 
followed the prophet David's steps and gave his disciples a law of silence. 
He went so far as to restrain his disciples from the use of speech for five 
years. David, on the other hand, gave his law, not with a view to impair 
the gift of nature, but to teach us to take heed to the words we utter. 
Pythagoras again made his rule, that he might teach men to speak by not 
speaking. But David made his, so that by speaking we might learn the 
more how to speak. How can there be instruction without exercise, or 
advance without practice? 

32. A man wishing to undergo a warlike training daily exercises himself 
with his weapons. As though ready for action he rehearses his part in the 
fight and stands forth just as if the enemy were in position before him. Or, 
with a view to acquiring skill and strength in throwing the javelin, he either 
puts his own arms to the proof, or avoids the blows of his foes, and 
escapes them by his watchful attention. The man that desires to navigate a 
ship on the sea, or to row, tries first on a river. They who wish to acquire 
an agreeable style of singing and a beautiful voice begin by bringing out 
their voice gradually by singing. And they who seek to win the crown of 



51 

victory by strength of body and in a regular wrestling match, harden their 
limbs by daily practice in the wrestling school, foster their endurance, and 
accustom themselves to hard work. 

33. Nature herself teaches us this in the case of infants, For they first 
exercise themselves in the sounds of speech and so learn to speak. Thus 
these sounds of speech are a kind of practice, and a school for the voice. 
Let those then who want to learn to take heed in speaking not refuse what 
is according to nature, but let them use all watchful care; just as those who 
are on a watch-tower keep on the alert by watching, and not by going to 
sleep. For everything is made more perfect and strong by exercises proper 
and suitable to itself. 

34. David, therefore, was not always silent, but only for a time; not 
perpetually nor to all did he refuse to speak; but he used not to answer the 
enemy that provoked him, the sinner that exasperated him. As he says 
elsewhere: "As though he were deaf he heard not them that speak vanity 
and imagine deceit: and as though he were dumb he opened not his mouth 
to them." Again, in another place, it is said: "Answer not a fool according 
to his folly, lest thou also be like to him." 

35. The first duty then is to have due measure in our speech. In this way a 
sacrifice of praise is offered up to God; thus a godly fear is shown when 
the sacred Scriptures are read; thus parents are honored. I know well that 
many speak because they know not how to keep silence. But it is not 
often any one is silent when speaking does not profit him. A wise man, 
intending to speak, first carefully considers what he is to say, and to 
whom he is to say it; also where and at what time. There is therefore such 
a thing as due measure in keeping silence and also in speaking; there is also 
such a thing as a due measure in what we do. It is a glorious thing to 
maintain the right standard of duty. 



52 

CHAPTER 11 



It is proved by the witness of Scripture that all duty is either 
"ordinary" or "perfect." To which is added a word in praise of mercy, 
and an exhortation to practice it. 

36. Every duty is either "ordinary" or "perfect," a fact which we can also 
confirm by the authority of the Scriptures. For we read in the Gospel that 
the Lord said: "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He 
saith: Which? Jesus said to him: Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not 
commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 
Honor thy father and thy mother, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as 
thyself." These are ordinary duties, to which something is wanting. 

37. Upon this the young man says to Him: "All these things have I kept 
from my youth up, what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him: If thou wilt be 
perfect, go and sell all thy goods and give to the poor, and thou shalt have 
treasure in heaven; and come and follow Me." And earlier the same is 
written, where the Lord says that we must love our enemies, and pray for 
those that falsely accuse and persecute us, and bless those that curse us. 
This we are bound to do, if we would be perfect as our Father Who is in 
heaven; Who bids the sun to shed his rays over the evil and the good, and 
makes the lands of the whole universe fertile with rain and dew without 
any distinction. This, then, is a perfect duty (the Greeks call it 
%ax6p9co(xa), whereby all things are put right which could have any 
failings in them. 

38. Mercy, also, is a good thing, for it makes men perfect, in that it 
imitates the perfect Father. Nothing graces the Christian soul so much as 
mercy; mercy as shown chiefly towards the poor, that thou mayest treat 
them as sharers in common with thee in the produce of nature, which 
brings forth the fruits of the earth for use to all. Thus thou mayest freely 
give to a poor man what thou hast, and in this way help him who is thy 
brother and companion. Thou bestowest silver; he receives life. Thou 
givest money; he considers it his fortune. Thy coin makes up all his 
property. 



53 

39. Further, he bestows more on thee than thou on him, since he is thy 
debtor in regard to thy salvation. If thou clothe the naked, thou clothest 
thyself with righteousness; if thou bring the stranger under thy roof, if 
thou support the needy, he procures for thee the friendship of the saints 
and eternal habitations. That is no small recompense. Thou sowest earthly 
things and receivest heavenly. Dost thou wonder at the judgment of God in 
the case of holy Job? Wonder rather at his virtue, in that he could say: "I 
was an eye to the blind, and a foot to the lame. I was a father to the poor. 
Their shoulders were made warm with the skins of my lambs. The stranger 
dwelt not at my gates, but my door was open to every one that came." 
Clearly blessed is he from whose house a poor man has never gone with 
empty hand. Nor again is any one more blessed than he who is sensible of 
the needs of the poor, and the hardships of the weak and helpless. In the 
day of judgment he will receive salvation from the Lord, Whom he will 
have as his debtor for the mercy he has shown. 



54 

CHAPTER 12 



To prevent any one from being checked in the exercise of mercy, he 
shows that God cares for human actions; and proves on the evidence 
of Job that all wicked men are unhappy in the very abundance of 
their wealth. 

40. B ut many are kept back from the duty of showing active mercy, 
because they suppose that God does not care about the actions of men, or 
that He does not know what we do in secret, and what our conscience has 
in view. Some again think that His judgment in no wise seems to be just; 
for they see that sinners have abundance of riches, that they enjoy honors, 
health, and children; while, on the other hand, the just live in poverty and 
unhonored, they are without children, sickly in body, and often in grief. 

41. That is no small point. For those three royal friends of Job declared 
him to be a sinner, because they saw that he, after being rich, became poor; 
that after having many children, he had lost them all, and that he was now 
covered with sores and was full of weals, and was a mass of wounds from 
head to foot. But holy Job made this declaration to them: "If I suffer thus 
because of my sins, why do the wicked live? They grow old also in riches, 
their seed is according to their pleasure, their children are before their eyes, 
their houses are prosperous; but they have no fear; there is no scourge 
from the Lord on them." 

42. A faint-hearted man, seeing this, is disturbed in mind, and turns his 
attention away from it. Holy Job, when about to speak in the words of 
such a one, began thus, saying: "Bear with me, I also will speak; then laugh 
at me. For if I am found fault with, I am found fault with as a man. Bear, 
therefore, the burden of my words." For I am going to say (he means) what 
I do not approve; but I shall utter wrong words to refute you. Or, to 
translate it in another way: "How now? Am I found fault with by a man?" 
That is: a man cannot find fault with me because I have sinned, although I 
deserve to be found fault with; for ye do not find fault with me on the 
ground of an open sin, but estimate what I deserve for my offenses by the 
extent of my misfortunes. Thus the faint-hearted man, seeing that the 



55 

wicked succeed and prosper, whilst he himself is crushed by misfortune, 
says to the Lord: "Depart from me, I desire not the knowledge of Thy 
ways. What good is it that we serve Him, or what use to hasten to Him? In 
the hands of the wicked are all good things, but He sees not their works." 

43. Plato has been greatly praised, because in his book "on the State," he 
has made the person who undertook the part of objector against justice to 
ask pardon for his words, of which he himself did not approve; and to say 
that that character was only assumed for the sake of finding out the truth 
and to investigate the question at issue. And Cicero so far approved of 
this, that he also, in his book which he wrote "on the Commonwealth," 
thought something must be said against that idea. 

44. How many years before these did Job live! He was the first to discover 
this, and to consider what excuses had to be made for this, not for the sake 
of decking out his eloquence, but for the sake of finding out the truth. At 
once he made the matter plain, stating that the lamp of the wicked is put 
out, that their destruction will come; that God, the teacher of wisdom and 
instruction, is not deceived, but is a judge of the truth. Therefore the 
blessedness of individuals must not be estimated at the value of their 
known wealth, but according to the voice of their conscience within them. 
For this, as a true and uncorrup ted judge of punishments and rewards, 
decides between the deserts of the innocent and the guilty. The innocent 
man dies in the strength of his own simplicity, in the full possession of his 
own will; having a soul filled as it were with marrow. But the sinner, 
though he has abundance in life, and lives in the midst of luxury, and is 
redolent with sweet scents, ends his life in the bitterness of his soul, and 
brings his last day to a close, taking with him none of those good things 
which he once enjoyed — carrying away nothing with him but the price of 
his own wickedness. 

45. In thinking of this, deny if thou canst that a recompense is paid by 
divine judgment. The former feels happy in his heart, the latter wretched; 
that man on his own verdict is guiltless, this one a criminal; that man again 
is happy in leaving the world, this man grieves over it. Who can be 
pronounced guiltless that is not innocent in the sight of his own 
conscience? "Tell me," he says, "where is the Covering of his tabernacle; 
his token will not be found." The life of the criminal is as a dream. He has 



56 

opened his eyes. His repose has departed, his enjoyment has fled. Nay, 
that very repose of the wicked, which even while they live is only 
seeming, is now in hell, for alive they go down into hell. 

46. Thou seest the enjoyments of the sinner; but question his conscience. 
Will he not be more foul than any sepulcher? Thou beholdest his joy, thou 
admirest the bodily health of his children, and the amount of his wealth; 
but look within at the sores and wounds of his soul, the sadness of his 
heart. And what shall I say of his wealth, when thou readest: "For a man's 
life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth"? 
When thou knowest, that though he seems to thee to be rich, to himself is 
poor, and in his own person refutes thy judgment? What also shall I say of 
the number of his children and of his freedom from pain — when he is full 
of grief and decides that he will have no heir, and does not wish that those 
who copy his ways should succeed him? For the sinner really leaves no 
heir. Thus the wicked man is a punishment to himself, but the upright man 
is a grace to himself — and to either, whether good or bad, the reward of 
his deeds is paid in his own person. 



57 

CHAPTER 13 



The ideas of those philosophers are refuted who deny to God the care 
of the whole world, or of any of its parts. 

47 . B ut let us return to our point, lest we seem to have lost sight of the 
break we made in answering the ideas of those who, seeing some wicked 
men, rich, joyous, full of honors, and powerful, whilst many upright men 
are in want and are weak, — suppose therefore that God either cares 
nothing about us (which is what the Epicureans say), or that He is ignorant 
of men's actions as the wicked say — or that, if He knows all things, He is 
an unjust judge in allowing the good to be in want and the wicked to have 
abundance. But it did not seem out of place to make a digression to meet 
an idea of this kind and to contrast it with the feelings of those very 
persons whom they consider happy — for they think themselves 
wretched. I suppose they would believe themselves more readily than us. 

48. After this digression I consider it an easy matter to refute the rest — 
above all the declaration of those who think that God has no care whatever 
for the world. For instance, Aristotle declares that His providence extends 
only to the moon. But what workman is there who gives no care to his 
work? Who would forsake and abandon what he believes himself to have 
produced? If it is derogatory to rule, is it not more so to have created? 
Though there is no wrong involved in not creating anything, it is surely the 
height of cruelty not to care for what one has created. 

49. But if some deny God to be the Creator, and so count themselves 
amongst the beasts and irrational creatures, what shall we say of those 
who condemn themselves to such indignity? They themselves declare that 
God pervades all things, that all depend upon His power, that His might 
and majesty penetrate all the elements, — lands, heaven, and seas; yet 
they think it derogatory to Him to enter into man's spirit, which is the 
noblest thing He has given us, and to be there with the full knowledge of 
the divine Majesty. 

50. But philosophers who are held to be reasonable laugh at the teacher of 
these ideas as besotted and licentious. But what shall I say of Aristotle's 



58 

idea? He thinks that God is satisfied with His own narrow bounds, and 
lives within the prescribed limits of His kingdom. This, however, is also 
what the poets' tales tell us. For they relate that the world is divided 
between three gods, so that it has fallen to the lot of one to restrain and 
rule heaven, to another the sea, and to a third the lower regions. They have 
also to take care not to stir up war one with the other by allowing thoughts 
and cares about the belongings of others to take hold of them. In the same 
way, Aristotle also declares that God has no care for the earth, as He has 
none for the sea or the lower regions. How is it that these philosophers 
shut out of their ranks the poets whose footsteps they follow? 



59 
CHAPTER 14 



Nothing escapes God's knowledge. This is proved by the witness of 
the Scriptures and the analogy of the sun, which, although created, 
yet by its light or heat enters into all things. 

5 1 . N ext comes the answer to the question, whether God, not having 
failed to show care for His work, now fails to have knowledge of it? Thus 
it is written: "He that planted the ear, shall He not hear? He that made the 
eye, shall He not regard?" 

52. This false idea was not unknown to the holy prophets. David himself 
introduces men to speak whom pride has filled and claimed for its own. 
For what shows greater pride than when men who are living in sin think it 
unfit that other sinners should live, and say: "Lord, how long shall the 
ungodly, how long shall the ungodly triumph?" And later on: "And yet 
they say, the Lord shall not see: neither shall the God of Jacob regard it." 
Whom the prophet answers, saying: "Take heed, ye unwise among the 
people: O ye fools, when will ye understand? He that planted the ear, shall 
He not hear? or He that made the eye, shall He not see? He that rebuketh 
the nations, shall He not punish? — He that teacheth man knowledge? 
The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man that they are vain." Does He Who 
discerns whatsoever is vain not know what is holy, and is He ignorant of 
what He Himself has made? Can the workman be ignorant of his own 
work? This one is a man, yet he discerns what is hidden in his work; and 
God — shall He not know His own work? Is there more depth, then, in 
the work than in its author? Has He made something superior to Himself; 
the value of which, as its Author, He was ignorant of, and whose condition 
He knew not, though He was its Director? So much for these persons. 

53. But we are satisfied with the witness of Him Who says: "I search out 
the heart and the reins." In the Gospel, also, the Lord Jesus says: "Why 
think ye evil in your hearts? For He knew they were thinking evil." The 
evangelist also witnesses to this, saying: "For Jesus knew their thoughts." 

54. The idea of these people will not trouble us much if we look at their 
actions. They will not have Him to be judge over them, Whom nothing 



60 

deceives; they will not grant to Him the knowledge of things hidden, for 
they are afraid their own hidden things may be brought to light. But the 
Lord, also, "knowing their works, has given them over unto darkness. In 
the night," he says, "he will be as a thief, and the eye of the adulterer will 
watch for the darkness, saying, No eye shall see me; he hath covered up 
his face." For every one that avoids the light loves darkness, seeking to be 
hid, though he cannot be hid from God, Who knows not only what is 
transacted, but also what will be thought of, both in the depths of space 
and in the minds of men. Thus, again, he who speaks in the book 
Ecclesiasticus says: "Who seeth me? The darkness hath covered me, and 
the walls have hidden me; whom do I fear?" But although lying on his bed 
he may think thus, he is caught where he never thought of it. "It shall be," 
it says, "a shame to him because he knew not what the fear of the Lord 
was." 

55. But what can be more foolish than to suppose that anything escapes 
God's notice, when the sun which supplies the light enters even hidden 
spots, and the strength of its heat reaches to the foundations of a house 
and its inner chambers? Who can deny that the depths of the earth, which- 
the winter' s ice has bound together, are warmed by the mildness of spring? 
Surely the very heart of a tree feels the force of heat or cold, to such an 
extent that its roots are either nipped with the cold or sprout forth in the 
warmth of the sun. In short, wherever the mildness of heaven smiles on the 
earth, there the earth produces in abundance fruits of different kinds. 

56. If, then, the sun's rays pour their light over all the earth and enter into 
its hidden spots; if they cannot be checked by iron bars or the barrier of 
heavy doors from getting within, how can it be impossible for the Glory of 
God, which is instinct with life, to enter into the thoughts and hearts of 
men that He Himself has created? And how shall it not see what He 
Himself has created? Did He make His works to be better and more 
powerful than He Himself is, Who made them (in this event) so as to 
escape the notice of their Creator whensoever they will? Did He implant 
such perfection and power in our mind that He Himself could not 
comprehend it when He wished? 



61 
CHAPTER 15 



Those who are dissatisfied with the fact that the good receive evil, 
and the evil good, are shown by the example of Lazarus, and on the 
authority of Paul, that punishments and rewards are reserved for a 
future life. 

57. We have fully discussed two questions; and this discussion, as we 
think, has not turned out quite unfavorably for us. A third question yet 
remains; it is this: Why do sinners have abundance of wealth and riches, 
and fare sumptuously, and have no grief or sorrow; whilst the upright are 
in want, and are punished by the loss of wives or children? Now, that 
parable in the Gospel ought to satisfy persons like these; for the rich man 
was clothed in purple and fine linen, and dined sumptuously every day; 
but the beggar, full of sores, used to gather the crumbs of his table. After 
the death of the two, however, the beggar was in Abraham's bosom in rest; 
the rich man Was in torment. Is it not plain from this that rewards and 
punishments according to deserts await one after death? 

58. And surely this is but right. For in a contest there is much labor needed 
— and after the contest victory falls to some, to others disgrace. Is the 
palm ever given or the crown granted before the course is finished? Paul 
writes well; He says: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my 
course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of 
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that 
day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing." 
"In that day," he says, He will give it — not here. Here he fought, in 
labors, in dangers, in shipwrecks, like a good wrestler; for he knew how 
that "through much tribulation we must enter into the kingdom of God." 
Therefore no one can receive a reward, unless he has striven lawfully; nor 
is the victory a glorious one, unless the contest also has been toilsome. 



62 
CHAPTER 16 



To confirm what has been said above about rewards and 
punishments, he adds that it is not strange if there is no reward 
reserved for some in the future; for they do not labor here nor 
struggle. He goes on to say also that for this reason temporal goods 
are granted to these persons, so that they may have no excuse 
whatever. 

59. Is not he unjust who gives the reward before the end of the contest? 
Therefore the Lord says in the Gospel: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for 
theirs is the kingdom of heaven." He said not: "Blessed are the rich," but 
"the poor." By the divine judgment blessedness begins there whence 
human misery is supposed to spring. "Blessed are they that hunger, for 
they shall be filled; Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be 
comforted; Blessed are the merciful, for God will have mercy on them; 
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God; Blessed are they that 
are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven; 
Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say 
all manner of evil against you for righteousness' sake. Rejoice and be 
exceeding glad, for plentiful is your reward in heaven." A reward future and 
not present, — in heaven, not on earth, — has He promised shall be given. 
What further dost thou expect? What further is due? Why dost thou 
demand the crown with so much haste, before thou dost conquer? Why 
dost thou desire to shake off the dust and to rest? Why dost thou long to 
sit at the feast before the course is finished? As yet the people are looking 
on, the athletes are in the arena, and thou — dost thou already look for 
ease? 

60. Perhaps thou sayest: Why Are the wicked joyous? why do they live in 
luxury? why do they not toil with me? It is because they who have not 
put down their names to strive for the crown are not bound to undergo the 
labors of the contest. They who have not gone down into the race-course 
do not anoint themselves with oil nor get covered with dust. For those 
whom glory awaits trouble is at hand. The perfumed spectators are wont 
to look on, not to join in the struggle, nor to endure the sun, the hear, the 



63 

dust, and the showers. Let the athletes say to them: Come, strive with us. 
The spectators will but answer: We sit here now to decide about you, but 
you, if you conquer, will gain the glory of the crown and we shall not. 

61. They, then, who have devoted themselves to pleasures, luxury, 
robbery, gain, or honors are spectators rather than combatants. They have 
the profit of labor, but not the fruits of virtue. They love their ease; by 
cunning and wickedness they heap up riches; but they will pay the 
penalty of their iniquity, though it be late. Their rest will be in hell, thine 
in heaven; their home in the grave, thine in paradise. Whence Job said 
beautifully that they watch in the tomb, for they cannot have the calm of 
quiet rest which he enjoys who shall rise again. 

62. Do not, therefore, understand, or speak, or think as a child; nor as a 
child claim those things now which belong to a future time. The crown 
belongs to the perfect. Wait till that which is perfect is come, when thou 
mayest know — not through a glass as in a riddle, but face to face — the 
very form of truth made clear. Then will be made known why that person 
was rich who was wicked and a robber of other men's goods, why another 
was powerful, why a third had many children, and yet a fourth was loaded 
with honors. 

63. Perhaps all this happens that the question may be asked of the robber: 
Thou wast rich, wherefore didst thou seize on the goods of others? Need 
did not force thee poverty did not drive thee to it. Did I not make thee 
rich, that thou mightest have no excuse? So, too, it may be said to a person 
of power: Why didst thou not aid the widow the orphans also, when 
enduring wrong? Wast thou powerless? Couldst thou not help? I made 
thee for this purpose, not that thou mightest do wrong, but that thou 
mightest check it. Is it not written for thee "Save him that endureth 
wrong?" Is it not written for thee: "Deliver the poor and needy out of the 
hand of the sinner"? It may be said also to the man who has abundance of 
good things: I have blessed thee with children and honors; I have granted 
thee health of body; why didst thou not follow my commands? My 
servant, what have I done to thee, or how have I grieved thee? Was it not I 
that gave thee children, bestowed honors, granted health to thee? Why 
didst thou deny me? Why didst thou suppose that thy actions would not 



64 

come to my knowledge? Why didst thou accept my gifts, yet despise my 
commands? 

64. We can gather the same from the example of the traitor Judas. He was 
chosen among the Twelve Apostles, and had charge of the money bag, to 
lay it out upon the poor, that it might not seem as though he had betrayed 
the Lord because he was unhonored or in want. Wherefore the Lord 
granted him this office, that He might also be justified in him; he would be 
guilty of a greater fault, not as one driven to it by wrong done to him, but 
as one misusing grace. 



65 
CHAPTER 17 



The duties of youth, and examples suitable to that age, are next put 
forth. 

65 . Since it has been made sufficiently plain that there will be punishment 
for wickedness and reward for virtue, let us proceed to speak of the duties 
which have to be borne in mind from our youth up, that they may grow 
with our years. A good youth ought to have a fear of God, to be subject to 
his parents, to give honor to his elders, to preserve his purity; he ought not 
to despise humility, but should love forbearance and modesty. All these 
are an ornament to youthful years. For as seriousness is the true grace of 
an old man, and ardor of a young man, so also is modesty, as though by 
some gift of nature, well set off in a youth. 

66. Isaac feared the Lord, as was indeed but natural in the son of Abraham; 
being subject also to his father to such an extent that he would not avoid 
death in opposition to his father's will. Joseph also, though he dreamed 
that sun and moon and stars made obeisance to him, yet was subject to his 
father's will with ready obedience. So chaste was he, he would not hear 
even a word unless it were pure; humble was he even to doing the work of 
a slave, modest, even to taking flight, enduring, even to bearing 
imprisonment, so forgiving of wrong as even to repay it with good, Whose 
modesty was such, that, when seized by a woman, he preferred to leave 
his garment in her hands in flight, rather than to lay aside his modesty. 
Moses, also, and Jeremiah, chosen by the Lord to declare the words of 
God to the people, were for avoiding, through modesty, that which 
through grace they could do. 



66 
CHAPTER 18 



On the different functions of modesty. How it should qualify both 
speech and silence, accompany chastity, commend our prayers to 
God, govern our bodily motions; on which last point reference is 
made to two clerics in language by no means unsuited to its object. 
Further he proceeds to say that one's gait should be in accordance 
with that same virtue, and how careful one must be that nothing 
immodest come forth from one's mouth, or be noticed in one's body. 
All these points are illustrated with very appropriate examples. 

67 . Lovely, then, is the virtue of modesty, and sweet is its grace! It is 
seen not only in actions, but even in our words, so that we may not go 
beyond due measure in speech, and that our words may not have an 
unbecoming sound. The mirror of our mind often enough reflects its image 
in our words. Sobriety weighs out the sound even of our voice, for fear 
that too loud a voice should offend the ear of any one. Nay, in singing 
itself the first rule is modesty, and the same is true in every kind of 
speech, too, so that a man may gradually learn to praise God, or to sing 
songs, or even to speak, in that the principles of modesty grace his 
advance. 

68. Silence, again, wherein all the other virtues rest, is the chief act of 
modesty. Only, if it is supposed to be a sign of a childish or proud spirit, 
it is accounted a reproach; if a sign of modesty, it is reckoned for praise. 
Susanna was silent in danger, and thought the loss of modesty was worse 
than loss of life. She did not consider that her safety should be guarded at 
the risk of her chastity. To God alone she spoke, to Whom she could 
speak out in true modesty. She avoided looking on the face of men. For 
there is also modesty in the glance of the eye, which makes a woman 
unwilling to look upon men, or to be seen by them. 

69. Let no one suppose that this praise belongs to chastity alone. For 
modesty is the companion of purity, in company with which chastity 
itself is safer. Shame, again, is good as a companion and guide of chastity, 
inasmuch as it does not suffer purity to be defiled in approaching even the 



67 

outskirts of danger. This it is that, at the very outset of her recognition, 
commends the Mother of the Lord to those who read the Scriptures, and, 
as a credible witness, declares her worthy to be chosen to such an office. 
For when in her chamber, alone, she is saluted by the angel, she is silent, 
and is disturbed at his entrance, and the Virgin's face is troubled at the 
strange appearance of a man's form. And so, though she was humble, yet 
it was not because of this, but on account of her modesty, that she did not 
return his salutation, nor give him any answer, except to ask, when she had 
learnt that she should conceive the Lord, how this should be. She certainly 
did not speak merely for the sake of making a reply. 

70. In our very prayers, too, modesty is most pleasing, and gains us much 
grace from our God. Was it not this that exalted the publican, and 
commended him, when he dared not raise even his eyes to heaven? So he 
was justified by the judgment of the Lord rather than the Pharisee, whom 
overweening pride made so hideous. "Therefore let us pray in the 
incorruptibility of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of 
great price," as St. Peter says. A noble thing, then, is modesty, which, 
though giving up its rights, seizing on nothing for itself, laying claim to 
nothing, and in some ways somewhat retiring within the sphere of its own 
powers, yet is rich in the sight of God, in Whose sight no man is rich. Rich 
is modesty, for it is the portion of God. Paul also bids that prayer be 
offered up with modesty and sobriety. He desires that this should be first, 
and, as it were, lead the way of prayers to come, so that the sinner's 
prayer may not be boastful, but veiled, as it were, with the blush of shame, 
may merit a far greater degree of grace, in giving way to modesty at the 
remembrance of its fault. 

71. Modesty must further be guarded in our very movements and gestures 
and gait. For the condition of the mind is often seen in the attitude of the 
body. For this reason the hidden man of our heart (our inner self) is 
considered to be either frivolous, boastful, or boisterous, or, on the other 
hand, steady, firm, pure, and dependable. Thus the movement of the body 
is a sort of voice of the soul. 

72. Ye remember, my children, that a friend of ours who seemed to 
recommend himself by his assiduity in his duties, yet was not admitted by 
me into the number of the clergy, because his gestures were too unseemly. 



68 

Also that I bade one, whom I found already among the clergy, never to go 
in front of me, because he actually pained me by the seeming arrogance of 
his gait. That is what I said when he returned to his duty after an offense 
committed. This alone I would not allow, nor did my mind deceive me. For 
both have left the Church. What their gait betrayed them to be, such were 
they proved to be by the faithlessness of their hearts. The one forsook his 
faith at the time of the Arian troubles; the other, through love of money, 
denied that he belonged to us, so that he might not have to undergo 
sentence at the hands of the Church. In their gait was discernible the 
semblance of fickleness, the appearance, as it were, of wandering buffoons. 

73. Some there are who in walking perceptibly copy the gestures of actors, 
and act as though they were bearers in the processions, and had the 
motions of nodding statues, to such an extent that they seem to keep a sort 
of time, as often as they change their step. 

74. Nor do I think it becoming to walk hurriedly, except when a case of 
some danger demands it, or a real necessity. For we often see those who 
hurry come up panting, and with features distorted. But if there is no 
reason for the need of such hurry, it gives cause for just offense. I am not, 
however, talking of those who have to hurry now and then for some 
particular reason, but of those to whom, by the yoke of constant habit, it 
has become a second nature. In the case of the former I cannot approve of 
their slow solemn movements, which remind one of the forms of 
phantoms. Nor do I care for the others with their headlong speed, for they 
put one in mind of the ruin of outcasts. 

75. A suitable gait is that wherein there is an appearance of authority and 
weight and dignity, and which has a calm collected bearing. But it must be 
of such a character that all effort and conceit may be wanting, and that it be 
simple and plain. Nothing counterfeit is pleasing. Let nature train our 
movements. If indeed there is any fault in our nature, let us mend it with 
diligence. And, that artifice may be wanting, let not amendment be 
wanting. 

76. But if we pay so much attention to things like these, how much more 
careful ought we to be to let nothing shameful proceed out of our mouth, 
for that defiles a man terribly. It is not food that defiles, but unjust 



69 

disparagement of others and foul words. These things are openly shameful. 
In our office indeed must no word be let fall at all unseemly, nor one that 
may give offense to modesty. But not only ought we to say nothing 
unbecoming to ourselves, but we ought not even to lend our ears to words 
of this sort. Thus Joseph fled and left his garment, that he might hear 
nothing inconsistent with his modesty. For he who delights to listen, urges 
the other on to speak. 

77. To have full knowledge of what is foul is in the highest degree 
shameful. To see anything of this sort, if by chance it should happen, how 
dreadful that is! What, therefore, is displeasing to us in others, can that be 
pleasing in ourselves? Is not nature herself our teacher, who has formed to 
perfection every part of our body, so as to provide for what is necessary 
and to beautify and grace its form? However she has left plain and open to 
the sight those parts which are beautiful to look upon; among which, the 
head, set as it were above all, and the pleasant lines of the figure, and the 
appearance of the face are prominent, whilst their usefulness for work is 
ready to hand. But those parts in which there is a compliance with the 
necessities of nature, she has partly put away and hidden in the body 
itself, lest they should present a disgusting appearance, and partly, too, 
she has taught and persuaded us to cover them. 

78. Is not nature herself then a teacher of modesty? Following her example, 
the modesty of men, which I suppose is so called from the mode of 
knowing what is seemly, has covered and veiled what it has found hid in 
the frame of our body; like that door which Noah was bidden to make in 
the side of the ark; wherein we find a figure of the Church, and also of the 
human body, for through that door the remnants of food were cast out. 
Thus the Maker of our nature so thought of our modesty, and so guarded 
what was seemly and virtuous in our body, as to place what is unseemly 
behind, and to put it out of the sight of our eyes. Of this the Apostle says 
well: "Those members of the body which seem to be more feeble are 
necessary, and those members of the body which we think to be less 
honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor, and our uncomely 
parts have more abundant comeliness." Truly, by following the guidance of 
nature, diligent care has added to the grace of the body. In another place I 
have gone more fully into this subject, and said that not only do we hide 
those parts which have been given us to hide, but also that we think it 



70 

unseemly to mention by name their description, and the use of those 
members. 

79. And if these parts are exposed to view by chance, modesty is violated; 
but if on purpose, it is reckoned as utter shamelessness. Wherefore Ham, 
Noah's son, brought disgrace upon himself; for he laughed when he saw his 
father naked, but they who covered their father received the gift of a 
blessing. For which cause, also, it was an ancient custom in Rome, and in 
many other states as well, that grown-up sons should not bathe with their 
parents, or sons-in-law with their fathers-in-law, in order that the great 
duty of reverence for parents should not be weakened. Many, however, 
cover themselves so far as they can in the baths, so that, where the whole 
body is bare, that part of it at least may be covered. 

80. The priests, also, under the old law, as we read in Exodus, wore 
breeches, as it was told Moses by the Lord: "And thou shalt make them 
linen breeches to cover their shame: from the loins even to the thighs they 
shall reach, and Aaron and his sons shall wear them, when they enter into 
the tabernacle of witness, and when they come unto the altar of the holy 
place to offer sacrifice, that they lay not sin upon themselves and die." 
Some of us are said still to observe this, but most explain it spiritually, and 
suppose it was said with a view to guarding modesty and preserving 
chastity. 



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CHAPTER 19 



How should seemliness be represented by a speaker? Does beauty 
add anything to virtue, and, if so, how much? Lastly, what care 
should we take that nothing conceited or effeminate be seen in us? 

8 1 . It has given me pleasure to dwell somewhat at length on the various 
functions of modesty; for I speak to you who either can recognize the 
good that is in it in your own cases, or at least do not know its loss. Fitted 
as it is for all ages, persons, times, and places, yet it most beseems 
youthful and childish years. 

82. But at every age we must take care that all we do is seemly and 
becoming, and that the course of our life forms one harmonious and 
complete whole. Wherefore Cicero thinks that a certain order ought to be 
observed in what is seemly. He says that this lies in beauty, order, and in 
appointment fitted for action. This, as he says, it is difficult to explain in 
words, yet it can be quite sufficiently understood. 

83. Why Cicero should have introduced beauty, I do not quite understand; 
though it is true he also speaks in praise of the powers of the body. We 
certainly do not locate virtue in the beauty of the body, though, on the 
other hand, we do recognize a certain grace, as when modesty is wont to 
cover the face with a blush of shame, and to make it more pleasing. For as 
a workman is wont to work better the more suitable his materials are, so 
modesty is more conspicuous in the comeliness of the body. Only the 
comeliness of the body should not be assumed; it should be natural and 
artless, unstudied rather than elaborated, not heightened by costly and 
glistening garments, but just clad in ordinary clothing, One must see that 
nothing is wanting that one's credit or necessity demands, whilst nothing 
must be added for the sake of splendor. 

84. The voice, too, should not be languid, nor feeble, nor womanish in its 
tone, — such a tone of voice as many are in the habit of using, under the 
idea of seeming important. It should preserve a certain quality, and 
rhythm, and a manly vigor. For all to do what is best suited to their 
character and sex, that is to attain to beauty of life. This is the best order 



72 

for movements, this the employment fitted for every action. But as I 
cannot approve of a soft or weak tone of voice, or an effeminate gesture of 
the body, so also I cannot approve of what is boorish and rustic. Let us 
follow nature. The imitation of her provides us with a principle of training, 
and gives us a pattern of virtue. 



73 
CHAPTER 20 



If we are to preserve our modesty we must avoid fellowship with 
profligate men, also the banquets of strangers, and intercourse with 
women; our leisure time at home should be spent in pious and 
virtuous pursuits. 

85 . M odesty has indeed its rocks — not any that she brings with her, but 
those, I mean, which she often runs against, as when we associate with 
profligate men, who, under the form of pleasantry, administer poison to 
the good. And the latter, if they are very constant in their attendance at 
banquets and games, and often join in jests, enervate that manly gravity of 
theirs. Let us then take heed that, in wishing to relax our minds, we do not 
destroy all harmony, the blending as it were of all good works. For habit 
quickly bends nature in another direction. 

86. For this reason I think that what ye wisely do is befitting to the duties 
of clerics, and especially to those of the priesthood — namely, that ye 
avoid the banquets of strangers, but so that ye are still hospitable to 
travelers, and give no occasion for reproach by reason of your great care in 
the matter. Banquets with strangers engross one's attention, and soon 
produce a love for feasting. Tales, also, of the world and its pleasures often 
creep in. One cannot shut one's ears; and to forbid them is looked on as a 
sign of haughtiness. One's glass, too, even against one's will, is filled time 
after time. It is better surely to excuse oneself once for all at one's own 
home, than often at another's. When one rises sober, at any rate one's 
presence need not be condemned by the insolence of another. 

87. There is no need for the younger clergy to go to the houses of widows 
or virgins, except for the sake of a definite visit, and in that case only with 
the eider clergy, that is, with the bishop, or, if the matter be somewhat 
important, with the priests. Why should we give room to the world to 
revile? What need is there for those frequent visits to give ground for 
rumors? What if one of those women should by chance fall? Why shouldst 
thou undergo the reproach of another' s fall? How many even strong men 



74 

have been led away by their passions? How many are there who have not 
indeed yielded to sin, but have given ground for suspicion? 

88. Why dost thou not spend the time which thou hast free from thy 
duties in the church in reading? Why dost thou not go back again to see 
Christ? Why dost thou not address Him, and hear His voice? We address 
Him when we pray, we hear Him when we read the sacred oracles of God. 
What have we to do with strange houses? There is one house which holds 
all. They who need us can come to us. What have we to do with tales and 
fables? An office to minister at the altar of Christ is what we have 
received; no duty to make ourselves agreeable to men has been laid upon 
us. 

89. We ought to be humble, gentle, mild, serious, patient. We must keep 
the mean in all things, so that a calm countenance and quiet speech may 
show that there is no vice in our lives. 



75 

CHAPTER 21 



We must guard against anger, before it arises; if it has already 
arisen we must check and calm it, and if we cannot do this either, at 
least we should keep our tongue from abuse, so that our passions 
may be like boys' quarrels. He relates what Archites said, and shows 
that David led the way in this matter, both in his actions and in his 
writings. 

9 . Let anger be guarded against. If it cannot, however, be averted, let it be 
kept within bounds. For indignation is a terrible incentive to sin. It 
disorders the mind to such an extent as to leave no room for reason. The 
first thing, therefore, to aim at, if possible, is to make tranquillity of 
character our natural disposition by constant practice, by desire for better 
things, by fixed determination. But since passion is to a large extent 
implanted in our nature and character, so that it cannot be uprooted and 
avoided, it must be checked by reason, if, that is, it can be foreseen. And if 
the mind has already been filled with indignation before it could be 
foreseen or provided against in any way, we must consider how to conquer 
the passion of the mind, how to restrain our anger, that it may no more be 
so filled. Resist wrath, if possible; if not, give way, for it is written: "Give 
place to wrath." 

91. Jacob dutifully gave way to his brother when angry, and to Rebecca; 
that is to say, taught by counsels of patience, he preferred to go away and 
live in foreign lands, rather than to arouse his brother's anger; and then to 
return only when he thought his brother was appeased. Thus it was that 
he found such great grace with God. With what offers of willing service, 
with what gifts, did he reconcile his brother to himself again, so that he 
should not remember the blessing which had been taken away from him, 
but should only remember the reparation now offered? 

92. If, then, anger has got the start, and has already taken possession of 
thy mind, and mounted into thy heart, forsake not thy ground. Thy ground 
is patience, it is wisdom, it is reason, it is the allaying of indignation. And 
if the stubbornness of thy opponent rouses thee, and his perverseness 



76 

drives thee to indignation: if thou canst not calm thy mind, check at least 
thy tongue. For so it is written: "Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips 
that they speak no guile. Seek peace and pursue it." See the peace of holy 
Jacob, how great it was! First, then, calm thy mind. If thou canst not do 
this, put a restraint upon thy tongue. Lastly, omit not to seek for 
reconciliation. These ideas the speakers of the world have borrowed from 
us, and have set down in their writings. But he who said it first has the 
credit of understanding its meaning. 

93. Let us then avoid or at any rate check anger, so that we may not lose 
our share of praise, nor yet add to our list of sins. It is no light thing to 
calm one's anger. It is no less difficult a thing than it is not to be roused at 
all. The one is an act of our own will, the other is an effect of nature. So 
quarrels among boys are harmless, and have more of a pleasant than a 
bitter character about them. And if boys quickly come to quarrel one with 
the other, they are easily calmed down again, and quickly come together 
with even greater friendliness. They do not know how to act deceitfully 
and artfully. Do not condemn these children, of whom the Lord says: 
"Except ye be converted and become as this child, ye shall not enter into 
the kingdom of heaven." So also the Lord Himself, Who is the Power of 
God, as a Boy, when He was reviled, reviled not again, when He was 
struck, struck not back. Set then thy mind on this — like a child never to 
keep an injury in mind, never to show malice, but that all things may be 
done blamelessly by thee. Regard not the return made thee by others. Hold 
thy ground. Guard the simplicity and purity of thy heart. Answer not an 
angry man according to his anger, nor a foolish man according to his folly. 
One fault quickly calls forth another. If stones are rubbed together, does 
not fire break forth? 

94. The heathen — (they are wont to exaggerate everything in speaking) — 
make much of the saying of the philosopher Archires of Tarentum, which 
he spoke to his bailiff: "O you wretched man, how I would punish you, if 
I were not angry." But David already before this had in his indignation held 
back his armed hand. How much greater a thing it is not to revile again, 
than not to avenge oneself! The warriors, too, prepared to take vengeance 
against Nabal, Abigail restrained by her prayers. From whence we perceive 
that we ought not only to yield to timely entreaties, but also to be pleased 



77 

with them. So much was David pleased that he blessed her who 
intervened, because he was restrained from his desire for revenge. 

95. Already before this he had said of his enemies: "For they cast iniquity 
upon me, and in their wrath they were grievous to me." Let us hear what 
he said when overwhelmed in wrath: "Who will give me wings like a dove, 
and I will flee away and be at rest." They kept provoking him to anger, bat 
he sought quietness. 

96. He had also said: Be ye angry and sin not." The moral teacher who 
knew that the natural disposition should rather be guided by a reasonable 
course of teaching, than be eradicated, teaches morals, and says: "Be angry 
where there is a fault against which ye ought to be angry." For it is 
impossible not to be roused up by the baseness of many things; otherwise 
we might be accounted, not virtuous, but apathetic and neglectful. Be 
angry therefore, so that ye keep free from fault, or, in other words: If ye 
are angry, do not sin, but overcome wrath with reason. Or one might put it 
thus: If ye are angry, be angry with yourselves, because ye are roused, and 
ye will not sin. For he who is angry with himself, because he has been so 
easily roused, ceases to be angry with another. But he who wishes to 
prove his anger is righteous only gets the more inflamed, and quickly falls 
into sin. "Better is he," as Solomon, says, "that restraineth his anger, than 
he that taketh a city," for anger leads astray even brave men. 

97. We ought therefore to take care that we do not get into a flurry, before 
reason prepares our minds. For oftentimes anger or distress or fear of 
death almost deprives the soul of life, and beats it down by a sudden blow. 
It is therefore a good thing to anticipate this by reflection, and to exercise 
the mind by considering the matter. So the mind will not be roused by any 
sudden disturbance, but will grow calm, being held in by the yoke and reins 
of reason. 



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On reflection and passion, and on observing propriety of speech, both 
in ordinary conversation and in holding discussions. 

9 8 . T here are two kinds of mental motions — those of reflection and of 
passion. The one has to do with reflection, the other with passion. There 
is no confusion one with the other, for they are markedly different and 
unlike. Reflection has to search and as it were to grind out the truth. 
Passion prompts and stimulates us to do something. Thus by its very 
nature reflection diffuses tranquillity and calm; and passion sends forth the 
impulse to act. Let us then be ready to allow reflection on good things to 
enter into our mind, and to make passion submit to reason (if indeed we 
wish to direct our minds to guard what is seemly), lest desire for anything 
should shut out reason. Rather let reason test and see what befits virtue. 

99. And since we have said that we must aim at the observance of what is 
seemly, so as to know what is the due measure in our words and deeds, 
and as order in speech rather than in action comes first; speech is divided 
into two kinds: first, as it is used in friendly conversation, and then in the 
treatment and discussion of matters of faith and justice. In either case we 
must take care that there is no irritation. Our language should he mild and 
quiet, and full of kindness and courtesy and free from insult. Let there be 
no obstinate disputes in our familiar conversations, for they are wont only 
to bring up useless subjects, rather than to supply anything useful. Let 
there be discussion without wrath, urbanity without bitterness, warning 
without sharpness, advice without giving offense. And as in every action 
of our life we ought to take heed to this, in order that no overpowering 
impulse of our mind may ever shut out reason (let us always keep a place 
for counsel), so, too, ought we to observe that rule in our language, so that 
neither wrath nor hatred may be aroused, and that we may not show any 
signs of our greed or sloth. 

100. Let our language be of this sort, more especially when we are 
speaking of the holy Scriptures. For of what ought we to speak more often 
than of the best subject of conversation, of its exhortation to 



79 

watch-fullness, its care for good instruction? Let us have a reason for 
beginning, and let our end be within due limits. For a speech that is 
wearisome only stirs up anger. But surely it is most unseemly that when 
every kind of conversation generally gives additional pleasure, this should 
give cause of offense! 

101. The treatment also of such subjects as the teaching of faith, 
instruction on self-restraint, discussion on justice, exhortation to activity, 
must not be taken up by us and fully gone into all at one time, but must be 
carried on in course, so far as we can do it, and as the subject-matter of the 
passage allows. Our discourse must not be too lengthy, nor too soon cut 
short, for fear the former should leave behind it a feeling of aversion, and 
the latter produce carelessness and neglect. The address should be plain 
and simple, clear and evident, full of dignity and weight; it should not be 
studied or too refined, nor yet, on the other hand, be unpleasing and rough 
in style. 



80 

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Jests, although at times they may be quite proper, should be 
altogether banished among clerics. The voice should be plain and 
frank. 

102. M en of the world give many further rules about the way to speak, 
which I think we may pass over; as, for instance, the way jesting should be 
conducted. For though at times jests may be proper and pleasant, yet they 
are unsuited to the clerical life. For how can we adopt those things which 
we do not find in the holy Scriptures? 

103. We must also take care that in relating stories we do not alter the 
earnest purpose of the harder rule we have set before us "Woe unto you 
that laugh, for ye shall weep," says the Lord. Do we seek for something to 
laugh at, that laughing here we may weep hereafter? I think we ought to 
avoid not only broad jokes, but all kinds of jests, unless perchance it is not 
unfitting at the time for our conversation to be agreeable and pleasant. 

104. In speaking of the voice, I certainly think it ought to be plain and 
clear. That it should be musical is a gift of nature, and is not to be won by 
exertion. Let it be distinct in its pronunciation and full of a manly vigor, 
but let it be free from a rough and rustic twang. See, too, that it does not 
assume a theatrical accent, but rather keeps true to the inner meaning of the 
words it utters. 



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CHAPTER 24 



There are three things to be noticed in the actions of our life. First, 
our passions are to be controlled by our reason; next, we ought to 
observe a suitable moderation in our desires; and, lastly, everything 
ought to be done at the fight time and m the proper order. All these 
qualities shone forth so conspicuously in the holy men of Old 
Testament time, that it is evident they were well furnished with 
what men call the cardinal virtues. 

105.Ithink I have said enough on the art of speaking. Let us now consider 
what beseems an active life. We note that there are three things to be 
regarded in connection with this subject. One is, that passion should not 
resist our reason. In that way only can our duties be brought into line with 
what is seemly. For if passion yields to reason we can easily maintain 
what is seemly in our duties. Next, we must take care rest, either by 
showing greater zeal or less than the matter we take up demands, we look 
as though we were taking up a small matter with great parade or were 
treating a great matter with but little care. Thirdly, as regards moderation in 
our endeavors and works, and also with regard to order in doing things and 
in the right timing of things, I think that everything should be open and 
straightforward. 

106. But first comes that which I may call the foundation of all namely, 
that our passions should obey our reason. The second and third are really 
the same — moderation in either case. There is room with us for the 
survey of a pleasing form, which is accounted beauty, and the 
consideration of dignity. Next follows the consideration of the order and 
the timing of things. These, then, are the three points, and we must see 
whether we can show them in perfection in any one of the saints. 

107. First there is our father Abraham, who was formed and called for the 
instruction of generations to come. When bidden to go forth from his own 
country and kindred and from his father's house, though bound and held 
back by many ties of relationship, did he not give proof that ill him 
passion was subject to reason? Who does not delight in the sweet charms 



82 

of his native land, his kindred, and his own home? Their sweetness then 
delighted him. But the thought of the heavenly command and of an eternal 
reward influenced him more. Did he not reflect that he could not take his 
wife with him without the greatest danger, unused as she was to hardships, 
and so tender to bear insults, and so beautiful as to be likely to arouse the 
lust of profligate men? Yet he decided somewhat deliberately to undergo all 
this rather than to escape it by making excuses. Lastly, when he had gone 
into Egypt, he advised her to say she was his sister, not his wife. 

108. See here what passions are at work! He feared for the chastity of his 
wife, he feared for his own safety, he had his suspicions about the lust of 
the Egyptians, and yet the reasonableness of performing his duty to God 
prevailed with him. For. he thought that by the favor of God he could be 
safe everywhere, but if he offended the Lord he could not abide unharmed 
even at home. Thus reason conquered passion, and brought it into 
subjection to itself. 

109. When his nephew was taken captive, without being terrified or 
dismayed at the hordes of so many kings, he resumed the war. And after 
the victory was gained he refused his share of the spoil, which he himself 
had really won. Also, when a son was promised him, though he thought of 
the lost vigor of his body, now as good as dead, and the barrenness of his 
wife, and his own great age, he believed God, though it was against the law 
of nature. 

1 10. Note how everything meets together here. Passion was not wanting, 
but it was checked. Here was a mind equable in action, which neither 
treated great things as unimportant or little things as great. Here there was 
moderation in different affairs, order in things, fitness of occasion, due 
measure in words. He was foremost in faith, conspicuous in virtue, 
vigorous in battle, in victory not greedy, at home hospitable, and to his 
wife attentive. 

111. Jacob also, his holy grandson, loved to pass his time at home free 
from danger; but his mother wished him to live in foreign parts, and so give 
place to his brother's anger. Sound counsels prevailed over natural feelings. 
An exile from home, banished from his parents, yet everywhere, in all he 
did, he observed due measure, such as was fitting, and made use of his 



83 

opportunities at the right time. So dear was he to his parents at home, that 
the one, moved by the promptness of his compliance, gave him his 
blessing, the other inclined towards him with tender love. In the judgment 
of his brother, also, he was placed first, when he thought that he ought to 
give up his food to his brother. For though according to his natural 
inclinations he wished for food, yet when asked for it he gave it up from a 
feeling of brotherly affection. He was a faithful shepherd of the flock for 
his master, an attentive son-in-law to his father-in-law; he was active in 
work, sparing in his meals, conspicuous in making amends, lavish in 
repaying. Nay, so well did he calm his brother's anger that he received his 
favor, though he had feared his enmity. 

1 12. What shall I say of Joseph? He certainly had a longing for freedom, 
and yet endured the bonds of servitude. How meek he was in slavery, how 
unchanging in virtue, how kindly in prison! Wise, too, in interpreting, and 
self-restrained in exercising his power! In the time of plenty was he not 
careful? In the time of famine was he not fair? Did he not praiseworthily 
do everything in order, and use opportunities at their season; giving justice 
to his people by the restraining guidance of his office? 

113. Job also, both in prosperity and adversity, was blameless, patient, 
pleasing, and acceptable to God. He was harassed with pain, yet could find 
consolation. 

1 14. David also was brave in war, patient in time of adversity, peaceful at 
Jerusalem, in the hour of victory merciful, on committing sin repentant, in 
his old age foreseeing. He preserved due measure in his actions, and took 
his opportunities as they came. He has set them down in the songs of 
succeeding years; and so it seems to me that he has by his life no less than 
by the sweetness of his hymns poured forth an undying song of his own 
merits to God. 

115. What duty connected with the chief virtues was wanting in these 
men? In the first place they showed prudence, which is exercised in the 
search of the truth, and which imparts a desire for full knowledge; next, 
justice, which assigns each man his own, does not claim another's, and 
disregards its own advantage, so as to guard the rights of all; thirdly, 
fortitude, which both in warfare and at home is conspicuous in greatness of 



84 

mind and distinguishes itself in the strength of the body; fourthly, 
temperance, which preserves the right method and order in all things that 
we think should either be done or said. 



85 

CHAPTER 25 



A reason is given why this book did not open with a discussion of the 
above-mentioned virtues. It is also concisely pointed out that the 
same virtues existed in the ancient fathers. 

116. Perhaps, as the different classes of duties are derived from these four 
virtues, some one may say that they ought to have been described first of 
all. But it would have been artificial to have given a definition of duty at 
the outset, and then to have gone on to divide it up into various classes. 
We have avoided what is artificial, and have put forward the examples of 
the fathers of old. These certainly offer us no uncertainty as regards our 
understanding them, and give us no room for subtlety in our discussion of 
them. Let the life of the fathers, then, be for us a mirror of virtue, not a 
mere collection of shrewd and clever acts. Let us show reverence in 
following them, not mere cleverness in discussing them. 

1 17. Prudence held the first place in holy Abraham. For of him the 
Scriptures say: "Abraham believed God, and that was counted to him for 
righteousness;" for no one is prudent who knows not God. Again: "The 
fool hath said, There is no God;" for a wise man would not say so. How is 
he wise who looks not for his Maker, but says to a stone: "Thou art my 
father"? Who says to the devil as the Manichaean does: "Thou art the 
author of my being"? How is Arius wise, who prefers an imperfect and 
inferior creator to one who is a true and perfect one? How can Marcion or 
Eunomius be wise, who prefer to have an evil rather than a good God? And 
how can he be wise who does not fear his God? For: "The fear of the Lord 
is the beginning of wisdom." Elsewhere, too, it stands: "The wise turn not 
aside from the mouth of the Lord, but come near Him in their confession of 
His greatness." So when the Scripture says: "It was counted to him for 
righteousness," that brought to him the grace of another virtue. 

118. The chief amongst ourselves have stated that prudence lies in the 
knowledge of the truth. But who of them all excelled Abraham, David, or 
Solomon in this? Then they go on to say that justice has regard to the 
whole community of the human race. So David said: "He hath dispersed 



86 

abroad and given to the poor, His righteousness remaineth for over." The 
just man has pity, the just man lends. The whole world of riches lies at the 
feet of the wise and the just. The just man regards what belongs to all as 
his own, and his own as common property. The man just accuses himself 
rather than others. For he is just who does not spare himself, and who 
does not suffer his secret actions to be concealed. See now how just 
Abraham was! In his old age he begat a son according to promise, and 
when the Lord demanded him for sacrifice he did not think he ought to 
refuse him, although he was his only son. 

119. Note here all these four virtues in one act. It was wise to believe God, 
and not to put love for his son before the commands of his Creator. It was 
just to give back what had been received. It was brave to restrain natural 
feelings by reason. The father led the victim; the son asked where it was: 
the father's feelings were hardly tried, but were not overcome. The son 
said again: "My father," and thus pierced his father's heart, though 
without weakening his devotion to God. The fourth virtue, temperance, 
too, was there. Being just he preserved due measure in his piety, and order 
in all he had to carry out. And so in bringing what was needed for the 
sacrifice, in lighting the fire, in binding his son, in drawing the knife, in 
performing the sacrifice in due order; thus he merited as his reward that he 
might keep his son. 

120. Is there greater wisdom than holy Jacob's, who saw God face to face 
and won a blessing? Can there be higher justice than his in dividing with his 
brother what he had acquired, and offering it as a gift? What greater 
fortitude than his in striving with God? What moderation so true as his, 
who acted with such moderation as regards time and place, as to prefer to 
hide his daughter's shame rather than to avenge himself? For being set in 
the midst of foes, he thought it better to gain their affections than to 
concentrate their hate on himself. 

121. How wise also was Noah, who built the whole of the ark! How just 
again! For he alone, preserved of all to be the father of the human race, was 
made a survivor of past generations, and the author of one to come; he was 
born, too, rather for the world and the universe than for himself. How 
brave he was to overcome the flood! how temperate to endure it! When he 
had entered the ark, with what moderation he passed the time! When he 



87 

sent forth the raven and the dove, when he received them on their return, 
when he took the opportunity of leaving the ark, with what moderation 
did he make use of these occasions! 



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In investigating the truth the philosophers have broken through 
their own rules. Moses, however, showed himself more wise than 
they. The greater the dignity of wisdom, the more earnestly must we 
strive to gain it. Nature herself urges us all to do this. 

122. It is said, therefore, that in investigating the truth, we must observe 
what is seemly. We ought to look for what is true with the greatest care. 
We must not put forward falsehood for truth, nor hide the truth in 
darkness, nor fill the mind with idle, involved, or doubtful matters. What 
so unseemly as to worship a wooden thing, which men themselves have 
made? What shows such darkness as to discuss subjects connected with 
geometry and astronomy (which they approve of), to measure the depths 
of space, to shut up heaven and earth within the limits of fixed numbers, to 
leave aside the grounds of salvation and to seek for error? 

123. Moses, learned as he was in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, did not 
approve of those things, but thought that kind of wisdom both harmful 
and foolish. Turning away therefrom, he sought God with all the desire of 
his heart, and thus saw, questioned, heard Him when He spoke. Who is 
more wise than he whom God taught, and who brought to nought all the 
wisdom of the Egyptians, and all the powers of their craft by the might of 
his works? He did not treat things unknown as well known, and so rashly 
accept them. Yet these philosophers, though they do not consider it 
contrary to nature, nor shameful for themselves to worship, and to ask 
help from an idol which knows nothing, teach us that these two things 
mentioned in the words just spoken, which are in accordance both with 
nature and with virtue, ought to be avoided. 

124. The loftier the virtue of wisdom is, the more I say we ought to strive 
for it, so that we may be able to attain to it. And that we may have no 
ideas which are contrary to nature, or are disgraceful, or unfitting, we ought 
to give two things, that is, time and care, to considering matters for the 
sake of investigating them. For there is nothing in which man excels all 
other living creatures more than in the fact that he has reason, seeks out the 



89 

origin of things, thinks that the Author of his being should be searched out. 
For in His hand is our life and death; He rules this world by His nod. And 
to Him we know that we must give a reason for our actions. For there is 
nothing which is more of a help to a good life than to believe that He will 
be our judge, Whom hidden things do not escape, and unseemly things 
offend, and good deeds delight. 

125. In all men, then, there lies, in accordance with human nature, a desire 
to search out the truth, which leads us on to have a longing for knowledge 
and learning, and infuses into us a wish to seek after it. To excel in this 
seems a noble thing to mankind; but there are only few who attain to it. 
And they, by deep thought, by careful deliberation, spend no little labor so 
as to be able to attain to that blessed and virtuous life, and to approach its 
likeness in their actions. "For not he that saith to Me Lord. Lord, shall 
enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth those things that I 
say.'" To have a desire for knowledge without actions to correspond — 
well! I do not know whether that carries anything more with it. 



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CHAPTER 27 



The first source of duty is prudence, from whence spring three other 
virtues; and they cannot be separated or torn asunder, since they are 
mutually connected one with the other. 

126. T he first source of duty, then, is prudence. For what is more of a 
duty than to give to the Creator all one's devotion and reverence? This 
source, however, is drawn off into other virtues. For justice cannot exist 
without prudence, since it demands no small amount of prudence to see 
whether a thing is just or unjust. A mistake on either side is very serious. 
"For he that says a just man is unjust, or an unjust man is just, is accursed 
with God. Wherefore does justice abound unto the wicked?" says 
Solomon. Nor, on the other hand, can prudence exist without justice, for 
piety towards God is the beginning of understanding. On which we notice 
that this is a borrowed rather than an original idea among the worldly wise, 
for piety is the foundation of all virtues. 

127. But the piety of justices is first directed towards God; secondly, 
towards one's country; next, towards parents; lastly, towards all. This, 
too, is in accordance with the guidance of nature. From the beginning of 
life, when understanding first begins to be infused into us, we love life as 
the gift of God, we love our country and our parents; lastly, our 
companions, with whom we like to associate. Hence arises true love, 
which prefers others to self, and seeks not its own, wherein lies the 
pre-eminence of justice. 

128. It is ingrained in all living creatures, first of all, to preserve their own 
safety, to guard against what is harmful, to strive for what is advantageous. 
They seek food and converts, whereby they may protect themselves from 
dangers, storms, and sun, — all which is a mark of prudence. Next we find 
that all the different creatures are by nature wont to herd together, at first 
with fellows of their own class and sort, then also with others. So we see 
oxen delighted to be in herds, horses in droves, and especially like with 
like, stags, also, in company with stags and often with men. And what 



91 

should I say on their desire to have young, and on their offspring, or even 
on their passions, wherein the likeness of justice is conspicuous? 

129. It is clear, then, that these and the remaining virtues are related to one 
another. For courage, which in war preserves one's country from the 
barbarians, or at home defends the weak, or comrades from robbers, is full 
of justice; and to know on what plan to defend and to give help, how to 
make use of opportunities of time and place, is the part of prudence and 
moderation, and temperance itself cannot observe due measure without 
prudence. To know a fit opportunity, and to make return according to 
what is right, belongs to justice. In all these, too, large-heartedness is 
necessary, and fortitude of mind, and often of body, so that we may carry 
out what we wish. 



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CHAPTER 28 



A community rests upon justice and good-will. Two parts of the 
former, revenge and private possession, are not recognized by 
Christians. What the Stoics say about common property and mutual 
help has been borrowed from the sacred writings. The greatness of 
the glory of justice, and what hinders access to it. 

1 3 . J ustice, then, has to do with the society of the human race, and the 
community at large. For that which holds society together is divided into 
two parts, — justice and good- will, which also is called liberality and 
kindness. Justice seems to me the loftier, liberality the more pleasing, of 
the two. The one gives judgment, the other shows goodness. 

131. But that very thing is excluded with us which philosophers think to 
be the office of justice. For they say that the first expression of justice is, 
to hurt no one, except when driven to it by wrongs received. This is put 
aside by the authority of the Gospel. For the Scripture wills that the Spirit 
of the Son of Man should be in us, Who came to give grace, not to bring 
harm. 

132. Next they considered it consonant with justice that one should treat 
common, that is, public property as public, and private as private. But 
this is not even in accord with nature, for nature has poured forth all things 
for all men for common use. God has ordered all things to be produced, so 
that there should be food in common to all, and that the earth should be a 
common possession for all. Nature, therefore, has produced a common 
right for all, but greed has made it a right for a few. Here, too, we are told 
that the Stoics taught that all things which are produced on the earth are 
created for the use of men, but that men are born for the sake of men, so 
that mutually one may be of advantage to another. 

133. But whence have they got such ideas but out of the holy Scriptures? 
For Moses wrote that God said: "Let us make man in our image, after our 
likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the 
fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over every creeping thing that 
creepeth upon the earth." And David said: "Thou hast put all things under 



93 

his feet; all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field, the fowls of 
the air, and the fishes of the sea." So these philosophers have learnt from 
our writings that all things were made subject to man, and, therefore, they 
think that all things were produced also for man's sake. 

134. That man was made for the sake of man we find stated also in the 
books of Moses, when the Lord says: "It is not good that man should be 
alone, let us make him an helpmeet for him." Thus the woman was given to 
the man to help him. She should bear him children, that one man might 
always be a help to another. Again, before the woman was formed, it was 
said of Adam: "There was not found an help-meet for him." For one man 
could not have proper help but from another. Amongst all the living 
creatures, therefore, there was none meet for him, or, to put it plainly, 
none to be his helper. Hence a woman was looked for to help him. 

135. Thus, in accordance with the will of God and the union of nature, we 
ought to be of mutual help one to the other, and to vie with each other in 
doing duties, to lay all our advantages as it were before all, and (to use the 
words of Scripture) to bring help one to the other from a feeling of 
devotion or of duty, by giving money, or by doing something, at any rate 
in some way or other; so that the charm of human fellowship may ever 
grow sweeter amongst us, and none may ever be recalled from their duty 
by the fear of danger, but rather account all things, whether good or evil, as 
their own concern. Thus holy Moses feared not to undertake terrible wars 
for his people's sake, nor was he afraid of the arms of the mightiest kings, 
nor yet was he frightened at the savagery of barbarian nations. He put on 
one side the thought of his own safety so as to give freedom to the people. 

136. Great, then, is the glory of justice; for she, existing rather for the good 
of others than of self, is an aid to the bonds of union and fellowship 
amongst us. She holds so high a place that she has all things laid under her 
authority, and further can bring help to others and supply money; nor 
does she refuse her services, but even undergoes dangers for others. 

137. Who would not gladly climb and hold the heights of this virtue, were 
it not that greed weakens and lessens the power of such a virtue? For as 
long as we want to add to our possessions and to heap up money, to take 
into our possession fresh lands, and to be the richest of all, we have cast 



94 

aside the form of justice and have lost the blessing of kindness towards all. 
How can he be just that tries to take from another what he wants for 
himself? 

138. The desire to gain power also enervates the perfect strength and 
beauty of justice. For how can he, who attempts to bring others under his 
own power, come forward on behalf of others? And how can a man help 
the weak against the strong, when he himself aspires to great power at the 
cost of liberty? 



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CHAPTER 29 



Justice should be observed even in war and with enemies. This is 
proved by the example of Moses and Elisha. The ancient writers 
learnt in turn from the Hebrews to call their enemies by a gentler 
term. Lastly, the foundation of justice rests on faith, and its 
symmetry is perfect in the Church. 

139. How great a thing justice is can be gathered from the fact that there is 
no place, nor person, nor time, with which it has nothing to do. It must 
even be preserved in all dealings with enemies. For instance, if the day or 
the spot for a battle has been agreed upon with them, it would be 
considered an act against justice to occupy the spot beforehand, or to 
anticipate the time. For there is some difference whether one is overcome 
in some battle by a severe engagement, or by superior skill, or by a mere 
chance. But a deeper vengeance is taken on fiercer foes, and on those that 
are false as well as on those who have done greater wrongs, as was the case 
with the Midianites. For they had made many of the Jewish people to sin 
through their women; for which reason the anger of the Lord was poured 
out upon the people of our fathers. Thus it came about that Moses when 
victorious allowed none of them to live. On the other hand, Joshua did not 
attack the Gibeonites, who had tried the people of our fathers with guile 
rather than with war, but punished them by laying on them a law of 
bondage. Elisha again would not allow the king of Israel to slay the Syrians 
when he wished to do so. He had brought them into the city, when they 
were besieging him, after he had struck them with instantaneous blindness, 
so that they could not see where they were going, For he said: "Thou shall 
not smite those whom thou hast not taken captive with thy spear and with 
thy sword. Set before them bread and water, that they may eat and drink 
and return and go to their own home." Incited by their kind treatment they 
should show forth to the world the kindness they had received. "Thus" 
(we read) "there came no more the bands of Syria into the land of Israel." 

140. If, then, justice is binding, even in war, how much more ought we to 
observe it in time of peace. Such favor the prophet showed to those who 
came to seize him. We read that the king of Syria had sent his army to lie 



96 

in wait for him, for he had learnt that it was Elisha who had made known 
to all his plans and consultations. And Gehazi the prophet's servant, 
seeing the army, began to fear that his life was in danger. But the prophet 
said to him: "Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be 
with them." And when the prophet asked that the eyes of his servant 
might be opened, they were opened. Then Gehazi saw the whole mountain 
full of horses and chariots round about Elisha. As they came down to him 
the prophet says: "Smite, O God, the army of Syria with blindness." And 
this prayer being granted, he says to the Syrians: "Follow me, and I will 
bring you to the man whom ye seek." Then saw they Elisha, whom they 
were endeavoring to lay hold of, and seeing him they could not hold him 
fast. It is clear from this that faith and justice should be observed even in 
war; and that it could not but be a disgraceful thing if faith were violated. 

141. So also the ancients used to give their foes a less harsh name, and 
called them strangers. For enemies used to be called strangers after the 
customs of old. This too we can say they adopted from our writings; for 
the Hebrews used to call their foes "allophyllos," that is, when put into 
Latin, "alienigenas" (of another race). For so we read in the first book of 
Kings: "It came to pass in those days that they of another race put 
themselves in array against Israel." 

142. The foundation of justice therefore is faith, for the hearts of the just 
dwell on faith, and the just man that accuses himself builds justice on faith, 
for his justice becomes plain when he confesses the truth. So the Lord 
saith through Isaiah: "Behold, I lay a stone for a foundation in Sion." This 
means Christ as the foundation of the Church. For Christ is the object of 
faith to all; but the Church is as it were the outward form of justice, she is 
the common right of all. For all in common she prays, for all in common 
she works, in the temptations of all she is tried. So he who denies himself 
is indeed a just man, is indeed worthy of Christ. For this reason Paul has 
made Christ to be the foundation, so that we may build upon Him the 
works of justice, whilst faith is the foundation. In our works, then, if they 
are evil, there appears unrighteousness; if they are good, justice. 



97 

CHAPTER 30 



On kindness and its several parts, namely, good-will and liberality. 
How they are to be combined. What else is further needed for any 
one to show liberality in a praiseworthy manner. 

143. Now we can go on to speak of kindness, which breaks up into two 
parts, goodwill and liberality. Kindness to exist in perfection must consist 
of these two qualities. It is not enough just to wish well; we must also do 
well. Nor, again, is it enough to do well, unless this springs from a good 
source even from a good, will. "For God loveth a cheerful giver." If we act 
unwillingly, what is our reward? Wherefore the Apostle, speaking 
generally, says: "If I do this thing willingly, I have a reward, but if 
unwillingly, a dispensation is given unto me." In the Gospel, also, we have 
received many rules of just liberality. 

144. It is thus a glorious thing to wish well, and to give freely, with the one 
desire to do good and not to do harm. For if we were to think it our duty 

to give the means to an extravagant man to live extravagantly, or to an 
adulterer to pay for his adultery, it would not be an act of kindness, for 
there would be no good-will in it. We should be doing harm, not good, to 
another if we gave him money to aid him in plotting against his country, or 
in attempting to get together at our expense some abandoned men to attack 
the Church. Nor, again, does it look like liberality to help one who presses 
very hardly on widows and orphans, or attempts to seize on their 
property with any show of violence. 

145. It is no sign of a liberal spirit to extort from one what we give to 
another, or to gain money unjustly, and then to think it can be well spent, 
unless we act as Zacchaeus did, and restore fourfold what we have taken 
from him whom we have robbed, and make up for such heathenish crimes 
by the zeal of our faith and by true Christian labor. Our liberality must 
have some sure foundation. 

146. The first thing necessary is to do kindness in good faith, and not to 
act falsely when the offering is made. Never let us say we are doing more, 
when we are really doing less. What need is there to speak at all? In a 



98 

promise a cheat lies hid. It is in our power to give what we like. Cheating 
shatters the foundation, and so destroys the work. Did Peter grow angry 
only so far as to desire that Ananias and his wife should be slain? 
Certainly not. He wished that others, through knowing their example, 
should not perish. 

147. Nor is it a real act of liberality if thou givest for the sake of boasting 
about it, rather than for mercy's sake. Thy inner feelings give the name to 
thy acts. As it comes forth from thee, so will others regard it. See what a 
true judge thou hast! He consults with thee how to take up thy work, and 
first of all he questions thy mind. "Let not," he says, "thy left hand know 
what thy right hand doth." This does not refer to our actual bodies, but 
means: Let not him who is of one mind with thee, not even thy brother, 
know what thou doest, lest thou shouldst lose the fruit of thy reward 
hereafter by seeking here thy price in boastfulness. But that liberality is 
real where a man hides what he does in silence, and secretly assists the 
needs of individuals, whom the mouth of the poor, and not his own lips, 
praises. 

148. Perfect liberality is proved by its good faith, the case it helps, the 
time and place when and where it is shown. But first we must always see 
that we help those of the household of faith. It is a serious fault if a 
believer is in want, and thou knowest it, or if thou knowest that he is 
without means, that he is hungry, that he suffer distress, especially if he is 
ashamed of his need. It is a great fault if he is overwhelmed by the 
imprisonment or false accusation of his family, and thou dost not come to 
his help. If he is in prison, and — upright though he is — has to suffer 
pain and punishment for some debt (for though we ought to show mercy 
to all, yet we ought to show it especially to an upright man); if in the time 
of his trouble he obtains nothing from thee; if in the time of danger, when 
he is carried off to die, thy money seems more to thee than the life of a 
dying man; what a sin is that to thee! Wherefore Job says beautifully: "Let 
the blessing of him that was ready to perish come upon me." 

149. God, indeed, is not a respecter of persons, for He knows all things. 
And we, indeed, ought to show mercy to all. But as many try to get help 
on false pretenses, and make out that they are miserably off; therefore 
where the case is plain and the person well known, and no time is to be 



99 

lost, mercy ought to be shown more readily. For the Lord is not exacting to 
demand the utmost. Blessed, indeed, is he who forsakes all and follows 
Him, but blessed also is he who does what he can to the best of his powers 
with what he has. The Lord preferred the two mites of the widow to all 
the gifts of the rich, for she gave all that she had, but they only gave a 
small part out of all their abundance. It is the intention, therefore, that 
makes the gift valuable or poor, and gives to things their value. The Lord 
does not want us to give away all our goods at once, but to impart them 
little by little; unless, indeed, our case is like that of Elisha, who killed his 
oxen, and fed the people on what he had, so that no household cares might 
hold him back, and that he might give up all things, and devote himself to 
the prophetic teaching. 

150. True liberality also must be tested in this way: that we despise not 
our nearest relatives, if we know they are in want. For it is better for thee 
to help thy kindred who feel the shame of asking help from others, or of 
going to another to beg assistance in their need. Not, however, that they 
should become rich on what thou couldst otherwise give to the poor. It is 
the facts of the case we must consider, and not personal feeling. Thou 
didst not dedicate thyself to the Lord on purpose to make thy family rich, 
but that thou mightest win eternal life by the fruit of good works, and 
atone for thy sins by showing mercy. They think perhaps that they are 
asking but little, but they demand the price thou shouldst pay for thy sins. 
They attempt to take away the fruits of thy life, and think they are acting 
rightly. And one accuses thee because thou hast not made him rich, when 
all the time he wished to cheat thee of the reward of eternal life. 

151. So far we have given our advice, now let us look for our authority. 
First, then, no one ought to be ashamed of becoming poor after being rich, 
if this happens because he gives freely to the poor; for Christ became poor 
when He was rich, that through His poverty He might enrich all." He has 
given us a rule to follow, so that we may give a good account of our 
reduced inheritance; whoever has stayed the hunger of the poor has 
lightened his distress. "Herein I give my advice," says the Apostle, "for 
this is expedient for you, that ye should be followers of Christ." Advice is 
given to the good, but warnings restrain the wrong-doers. Again he says, as 
though to the good: "For ye have begun not only to do, but also to be 
willing, a year ago." Both of these, and not only one, is the mark of 



100 

perfection. Thus he teaches that liberality without good- will, and good- will 
without liberality, are neither of them perfect. Wherefore he also urges us 
on to perfection, saying: "Now, therefore, perform the doing of it; that as 
the will to do it was ready enough in you, so also there may be the will to 
accomplish it out of that which ye have. For if the will be ready, it is 
accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath 
not. But not so that others should have plenty, and ye should be in want: 
but let there be equality, — your abundance must now serve for their 
want, that their abundance may serve for your want; that there may be 
equality, as it is written: "He that gathered much had nothing over, and he 
that gathered little had no lack." 

152. We notice how the Apostle includes both good-will and liberality, as 
well as the manner, the fruits of right giving, and the persons concerned. 
The manner certainly, for he gave advice to those not perfect: For only the 
imperfect suffer anxiety. But if any priest or other cleric, being unwilling 
to burden the Church, does not give away all that he has, but does 
honorably what his office demands, he does not seem to me to be 
imperfect. I think also that the Apostle here spoke not of anxiety of mind, 
but rather of domestic troubles. 

153. And I think it was with reference to the persons concerned that he 
said: "that your abundance might serve for their want, and their abundance 
for your want." This means, that the abundance of the people might arouse 
them to good works, so as to supply the want of food of others; whilst the 
spiritual abundance of these latter might assist the want of spiritual merits 
among the people themselves, and so win them a blessing. 

154. Wherefore he gave them an excellent example: "He that gathered much 
had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack." That example is a 
great encouragement to all men to show mercy. For he that possesses 
much gold has nothing over, for all in this world is as nothing; and he that 
has little has no lack, for what he loses is nothing already. The whole 
matter is without loss, for the whole of it is lost already. 

155. We can also rightly understand it thus. He that has much, although he 
does not give away, has nothing over. For however much he gets, he 
always is in want, because he longs for more. And he who has little has no 



101 

lack, for it does not cost much to feed the poor. In like manner, too, the 
poor person that gives spiritual blessings in return for money, although he 
has much grace, has nothing over. For grace does not burden the mind, but 
lightens it. 

156. It can further be taken in this way: Thou, O man, hast nothing over! 
For how much hast thou really received, though it may seem much to thee? 
John, than whom none was greater among those born of woman, yet was 
less than he who is least in the kingdom of heaven. 

157. Or once more. The grace of God is never superabundant, humanly 
speaking, for it is spiritual. Who can measure its greatness or its breadth, 
which one cannot see? Faith, if it were as a grain of mustard seed, can 
transplant mountains — and more than a grain is not granted thee. If grace 
dwelt fully in thee, wouldst thou not have to fear lest thy mind should 
begin to be elated at so great a gift? For there are many who have fallen 
more terribly, from spiritual heights, than if they had never received grace 
at all from the Lord. And he who has little has no lack, for it is not tangible 
so as to be divided; and what seems little to him that has is much to him 
that lacks. 

158. In giving we must also take into consideration age and weakness; 
sometimes, also, that natural feeling of shame, which indicates good birth. 
One ought to give more to the old who can no longer supply themselves 
with food by labor. So, too, weakness of body must be assisted, and that 
readily. Again, if any one after being rich has fallen into want, we must 
assist, especially if he has lost what he had from no sin of his own, but 
owing to robbery or banishment or false accusation. 

159. Perchance some one may say: A blind man sits here in one place, and 
people pass him by, whilst a strong young man often has something given 
him. That is true; for he comes over people by his importunity. That is 
not because in their judgment he deserves it, but because they are wearied 
by his begging. For the Lord speaks in the Gospel of him who had already 
closed iris door; how that when one knocks at his door very violently, he 
rises and gives what is wanted, because of his importunity. 



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CHAPTER 31 



A kindness received should be returned with a freer hand. This is 
shown by the example of the earth. A passage from Solomon about 
feasting is adduced to prove the same, and is expounded later in a 
spiritual sense. 

160. It is also rights that more regard should be paid to him who has 
conferred some benefit or girl upon thee, if he ever is reduced to want. For 
what is so contrary to one's duty as not to return what one has received? 
Nor do I think that a return of equal value should be made, but a greater. 
One ought to make up for the enjoyment of a kindness one has received 
from another, to such an extent as to help that person, even to putting an 
end to his needs. For not to be the better in returning than in conferring a 
kindness, is to be the inferior; for he who was the first to give was the first 
in point of time, and also first in showing a kind disposition. 

161. Wherefore w e must imitate the nature of the earth in this respect, 
which is wont to return the seed she has received, multiplied a 
thousand-fold. And so it is written: "As a field is the foolish man, and as a 
vineyard is the man without sense. If thou leavest him, he will be made 
desolate." As a field also is the wise man, so as to return the seed given 
him in fuller measure, as though it had been lent to him on interest. The 
earth either produces fruits of its own accord, or pays back and restores, 
what it was entrusted with, in fruitful abundance. In both these ways a 
return is due from thee, when thou enterest upon the use of thy father's 
possession, that thou mayest not be left to lie as an unfruitful field. It may 
be that a man can make an excuse for not giving anything, but how can he 
excuse himself for not returning what was given? It is hardly right not to 
give anything; it is certainly not right to make no return for kindness done 
to oneself. 

162. Therefore Solomon says well: "When thou sittest to eat at the table 
of a ruler consider diligently what is before thee, and put forth thine hand, 
knowing that it behooves thee to make such preparations. But if thou art 
insatiable, be not desirous of his dainties, for they have but a deceptive 



103 

life." I have written these words as I wish that we all should follow them. 
It is a good thing to do a service, but he who knows not how to return one 
is very hard. The earth herself supplies an example of kindliness. She 
provides fruits of her own accord, which thou didst not sow; she also 
returns many-fold what she has received. It is not right for thee to deny 
knowledge of money paid in to thee, and how can it be right to let a service 
done go without notice? In the book of Proverbs also it is said: that the 
repayment of kindness has such great power with God, that through it, 
even in the day of destruction, a man may find grace, though his sins 
outweigh all else. And why need I bring forward other examples when the 
Lord Himself promises in the Gospel a fuller reward to the merits of the 
saints, and exhorts us to do good works, saying: "Forgive, and ye shall be 
forgiven; give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, shaken 
together and running over, shall men give into your bosom." 

163. But the feasting that Solomon speaks of has not to do with common 
food only, but it is to be understood as having to do with good works. For 
how can the soul be feasted in better wise than on good works; or what can 
so easily fill the mind of the just as the knowledge of a good work done? 
What pleasanter food is there than to do the will of God? The Lord has 
told us that He had this food alone in abundance, as it is written in the 
Gospel, saying: "My food is to do the will of My Father which is in 
heaven." 

164. In this food let us delight of which the prophet says: "Delight thou in 
the Lord." In this food they delight, who have with wonderful knowledge 
learnt to take in the higher delights; who can know what that delight is 
which is pure and which can be understood by the mind. Let us therefore 
eat the bread of wisdom, and let us be filled with the word of God. For the 
life of man made in the image of God consists not in bread alone, but in 
every word that cometh from God. About the cup, too, holy Job says, 
plainly enough: "As the earth waiteth for the rain, so did they for my 
words." 



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After saying what return must be made for the service of the 
above-mentioned feast, various reasons for repaying kindness are 
enumerated. Then he speaks in praise of good-will, on its results and 
its order. 

165. It is therefore a good thing for us to be bedewed with the exhortations 
of the divine Scriptures, and that the word of God should come down 
upon us like the dew. When, therefore, thou sittest at the table of that 
great man, understand who that great man is. Set in the paradise of delight 
and placed at the feast of wisdom, think of what is put before thee! The 
divine Scriptures are the feast of wisdom, and the single books the various 
dishes. Know, first, what dishes the banquet offers, then stretch forth thy 
hand, that those things which thou readest, or which thou receivest from 
the Lord thy God, thou mayest carry out in action, and so by thy duties 
mayest show forth the grace that was granted thee. Such was the case with 
Peter and Paul, who in preaching the Gospel made some return to Him 
Who freely gave them all things. So that each of them might say: "By the 
grace of God I am what I am, and His grace in me was not in vain, but I 
labored more abundantly than they all." 

166. One repays the fruit of a service done him, and repays it, gold with 
gold, silver with silver. Another gives his labor. Another — and I do not 
know whether he does not do it in fuller measure — gives but the best 
wishes of his heart? But what if there is no opportunity to make a return 
at hand? If we wish to return a kindness, more depends on the spirit in 
which we do it than on the amount of our property, whilst people will 
think more of our good-will, than of our power to make a full return. For a 
kindness done is regarded in the light of what one has. A great thing, 
therefore, is good- will. For even if it has nothing to give, yet it offers the 
more, and though there is nothing in its own possession, yet it gives 
largely to many, and does that, too, without loss to itself, and to the gain 
of the many. Thus good- will is better than liberality itself. It is richer in 
character than the other is in gifts; for there are more that need a kindness 
than there are that have abundance. 



105 

167. But good-will also goes in conjunction with liberality, for liberality 
really starts from it, seeing that the habit of giving comes after the desire to 
give. It exists, however, also separate and distinct. For where liberality is 
wanting, there good- will abide' s — the parent as it were of all in common, 
uniting and binding friendships together. It is faithful in counsel, joyful in 
times of prosperity, and in times of sorrow sad. So it happens that any 
one trusts himself to the counsels of a man of good- will rather than to 
those of a wise one, as David did. For he, though he was the more 
farseeing, agreed to the counsels of Jonathan, who was the younger. 
Remove good- will out of the reach of men, and it is as though one had 
withdrawn the sun from the world. For without it men would no longer 
care to show the way to the stranger, to recall the wanderer, to show 
hospitality (this latter is no small virtue, for on this point Job praised 
himself, when he said: "At my doors the stranger dwelt not, my gate was 
open to every one who came"), nor even to give water from the water that 
flows at their door, or to light another's candle at their own. Thus 

good- will exists in all these, like a fount of waters refreshing the thirsty, 
and like a light, which, shining forth to others, fails not them who have 
given a light to others from their own light. 

168. There is also liberality springing from good- will, that makes one tear 
up the bond of a debtor which one holds, without demanding any of the 
debt back from him. Holy Job bids us act thus by his own example. For he 
that has does not borrow, but he that has not does not put an end to the 
agreement. Why, then, if thou hast no need, dost thou save up for greedy 
heirs what thou canst give back immediately, and so get praise for 
good-will, and that without loss of money? 

169. To go to the root of thereafter — good-will starts first with those at 
home, that is with children, parents, brothers, and goes on from one step 
to another throughout the world. Having started from Paradise, it has filled 
the world. For God set the feeling of good- will in the man and woman, 
saying: "They shall be one flesh," and (one may add) one spirit. Wherefore 
Eve also believed the serpent; for she who had received the gift of 
good-will did not think there was ill-will. 



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Good-will exists especially in the Church, and nourishes kindred 
virtues. 

1 7 . G ood-w ill expands in the body of the Church, by fellowship in 
faith, by the bond of baptism, by kinship through grace received, by 
communion in the mysteries. For all these bonds claim for themselves the 
name of intimacy, the reverence of children, the authority and religious care 
of parents, the relationship of brothers. Therefore the bonds of grace 
clearly point to an increase of good- will. 

171. The desire to attain to like virtues also stands one in good stead; just 
as again good-will brings about a likeness in character. For Jonathan the 
king's son imitated the gentleness of holy David, because he loved him. 
Wherefore those words: "With the holy thou shalt be holy," seem not only 
to be concerned with our ordinary intercourse, but also to have some 
connection with good-will. The sons of Noah indeed dwelt together, and 
yet their characters were not at all alike. Esau and Jacob also dwelt 
together in their father's house, but were very unlike. There was, however, 
no good- will between them to make the one prefer the other to himself, but 
rather a rivalry as to which should first get. the blessing. Since one was so 
hard, and the other gentle, good- will could not exist as between such 
different characters and conflicting desires. Add to this the fact that holy 
Jacob could not prefer the unworthy in son of his father's house to virtue. 

172. But nothing is so harmonious as justice and impartiality. For this, as 
the comrade and ally of good-will, makes us love those whom we think to 
be like ourselves. Again, good-will contains also in itself fortitude. For 
when friendship springs from the fount of good-will it does not hesitate to 
endure the great dangers of life for a friend. "If evils come to me through 
him," it says, "I will bear them." 



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Some other advantages of goodwill are here enumerated. 

1 7 3 . G ood-w ill also is wont to remove the sword of anger. It is also 
good- will that makes the wounds of a friend to be better than the willing 
kisses of an enemy. Goodwill again makes many to become one. For if 
many are friends, they become one; in whom there is but one spirit and 
one opinion. We note, too, that in friendship corrections are pleasing. 
They have their sting, but they cause no pain. We are pierced by the 
words of blame, but are delighted with the anxiety that good- will shows. 

174. To conclude, the same duties are not owed to all. Nor is regard ever 
paid to persons, though the occasion and the circumstances of the case are 
generally taken into consideration, so that one may at times have to help a 
neighbor rather than one's brother. For Solomon also says: "Better is a 
neighbor that is near than a brother far off." For this reason a man generally 
trusts himself to the good-will of a friend rather than to the ties of 
relationship with his brother. So far does good- will prevail that it often 
goes beyond the pledges given by nature. 



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On fortitude. This is divided into two parts: as it concerns matters of 
war and matters at home. The first cannot be a virtue unless 
combined with justice and prudence. The other depends to a large 
extent upon endurance. 

1 7 5 . W e have discussed fully enough the nature and force of what is 
virtuous from the standpoint of justice. Now let us discuss fortitude, 
which (being a loftier virtue than the rest) is divided into two parts, as it 
concerns matters of war and matters at home. But the thought of warlike 
matters seems to be foreign to the duty of our office, for we have our 
thoughts fixed more on the duty of the soul than on that of the body; nor 
is it our business to look to arms, but rather to the affairs of peace. Our 
fathers, however, as Joshua, the son of Nun, Jerubbaal, Samson, and 
David, gained great glory also in war. 

176. Fortitude, therefore, is a loftier virtue than the rest, but it is also one 
that never stands alone. For it never depends on itself alone. Moreover, 
fortitude without justice is the source of wickedness. For the stronger it is, 
the more ready is it to crush the weaker, whilst in matters of war one 
ought to see whether the war is just or unjust. 

177. David never waged war unless he was driven to it. Thus prudence 
was combined in him with fortitude in the battle. For even when about to 
fight single-handed against Goliath, the enormous giant, he rejected the 
armor with which he was laden. His strength depended more on his own 
arm than on the weapons of others. Then, at a distance, to get a stronger 
throw, with one cast of a stone, he slew his enemy. After that he never 
entered on a war without seeking counsel of the Lord. Thus he was 
victorious in all wars, and even to his last years was ready to fight. And 
when war arose with the Philistines, he joined battle with their fierce 
troops, being desirous of winning renown, whilst careless of his own 
safety. 

178. But this is not the only kind of fortitude which is worthy of note. We 
consider their fortitude glorious, who, with greatness of mind, "through 



109 

faith stopped the mouth of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped 
the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong." They did not 
gain a victory in common with many, surrounded with comrades, and aided 
by the legions, but won their triumph alone over their treacherous foes by 
the mere courage of their own souls. How unconquerable was Daniel, who 
feared not the lions raging round about him. The beasts roared, whilst he 
was eating. 



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One of the duties of fortitude is to keep the weak from receiving 
injury; another, to check the wrong motions of our own souls; a 
third, both to disregard humiliations, and to do what is right with an 
even mind. All these clearly ought to be fulfilled by all Christians, 
and especially by the clergy. 

179. T he glory of fortitude, therefore, does not rest only on the strength of 
one's body or of one's arms, but rather on the courage of the mind. Nor is 
the law of courage exercised in causing, but in driving away all harm. He 
who does not keep harm off a friend, if he can, is as much in fault as he 
who causes it. Wherefore holy Moses gave this as a first proof of his 
fortitude in war. For when he saw an Hebrew receiving hard treatment at 
the hands of an Egyptian, he defended him, and laid low the Egyptian and 
hid him in the sand. Solomon also says: "Deliver him that is led to death." 

180. From whence, then, Cicero and Panaetius, or even Aristotle, got these 
ideas is perfectly clear. For though living before these two, Job had said: "I 
delivered the poor out of the hand of the strong, and I aided the fatherless 
for whom there was no helper. Let the blessing of him that was ready to 
perish come upon me." Was not he most brave in that he bore so nobly the 
attacks of the devil, and overcame him with the powers of his mind? Nor 
have we cause to doubt the fortitude of him to whom the Lord said: "Gird 
up thy loins like a man. Put on loftiness and power. Humble every one 
that doeth wrong." The Apostle also says: "Ye have a strong consolation." 
He, then, is brave who finds consolation in any grief. 

181. And in very truth, rightly is that called fortitude, when a man 
conquers himself, restrains his anger, yields and gives way to no 
allurements, is not put out by misfortunes, nor gets elated by good 
success, and does not get carried away by every varying change as by 
some chance wind. But what is more noble and splendid than to train the 
mind, keep down the flesh, and reduce it to subjection, so that it may obey 
commands, listen to reason, and in undergoing labors readily carry out the 
intention and wish of the mind. 



Ill 

182. This, then, is the first notion of fortitude. For fortitude of the mind 
can be regarded in two ways. First, as it counts all externals as very 
unimportant, and looks on them as rather superfluous and to be despised 
than to be sought after. Secondly, as it strives after those things which are 
the highest, and all things in which one can see anything moral (or as the 

Greeks call it, ( Lf J. C ^ EJ \9 M.K) with all the powers of the 

mind. For what can be more noble than to train thy minds so as not to 
place a high value on riches and pleasures and honors, nor to waste all thy 
care on these? When thy mind is thus disposed, thou must consider how 
all that is virtuous and seemly must be placed before everything else; and 
thou must so fix thy mind upon that, that if aught happens which may 
break thy spirit, whether loss of property, or the reception of fewer 
honors, or the disparagement of unbelievers, thou mayest not feel it, as 
though thou were above such things; nay, so that even dangers which 
menace thy safety, if undertaken at the call of justice, may not trouble 
thee. 

183. This it the true fortitude which Christ's warrior has, who receives not 
the crown unless he strives lawfully. Or does that call to fortitude seem to 
thee but a poor one: "Tribulation worketh patience, and patience, 
experience, and experience, hope?" See how many a contest there is, yet 
by one crown! That call none gives, but he who was strengthened in Christ 
Jesus, and whose flesh had no rest. Affliction on all sides, fighting without 
and fears within. And though in dangers, in countless labors, in prisons, in 
deaths — he was not broken in spirit, but fought so as to become more 
powerful through his infirmities. 

184. Think, then, how he teaches those who enter upon their duties in the 
Church, that they ought to have contempt for all earthly things: "If, then, 
ye be dead with Christ from the elements of this world, why do ye act as 
though living in the world? Touch not, taste not, handle not, which all are 
to perish with the using." And further: "I ye then be risen with Christ, 
seek those things which are above, not those things which are on earth." 
This, indeed, is meant for all the faithful. But thee, especially, my son, he 
urges to despise riches and to avoid profane and old wives' fables — 



112 

allowing nothing but this: "Exercise thyself unto godliness, but bodily 
exercise profiteth a little, but godliness is profitable unto all things." 

185. Let, then, godliness exercise thee unto justice, continence, gentleness, 
that thou mayest avoid childish acts, and that rooted and grounded in grace 
thou mayest fight the good fight of faith. Entangle not thyself in the affairs 
of this life, for thou art fighting for God. For if he who fights for the 
emperor is forbidden by human laws to enter upon lawsuits, to do any 
legal business, or to sell merchandise; how much more ought he who enters 
upon the warfare of faith to keep from every kind of business, being 
satisfied with the produce of his own little bit of land, if he has it? If he 
has not that, let him be content with the pay he will get for his service. 
Here is a good witness to this fact, who says: "I have been young and now 
am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging 
bread." That is the true rest and temperance of gain, nor tormented by the 
fear of want 



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An even mind should be preserved in adversity as well as in 
posterity. However, evil things must be avoided. 

1 8 6 . T here is also that true of freedom of the mind from vexation which 
makes us neither give way too much in our griefs, nor be too elated in 
prosperity. And if they who urge men to undertake the affairs of the state 
give such rules, how much more ought we who are called to do duty in the 
Church, to act thus and do those things which are pleasing to God, so that 
Christ's power may show itself forth in us. We too must prove ourselves 
to our Captain, so that our members may be the weapons of justice; not 
carnal weapons in which sin may reign, but weapons strong for God, 
whereby sin may be destroyed. Let our flesh die, that in it every sin may 
die. And as though living again after death, may we rise to new works and 
a new life. 

187. These, then, are the services of fortitude; and full they are of virtuous 
and seemly duties. But in all that we do we must look to see, not only if it 
is virtuous, but whether or not it is possible, so that we may not enter 
upon anything that we cannot carry out. Wherefore the Lord, to use His 
own word, wills us to flee in time of persecution from one city to another; 
so that no one, whilst longing for the crown of martyrdom, may put 
himself in the way of dangers which possibly the weak flesh or a mind 
indulged could not bear and endure. 



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We must strengthen the mind against troubles to come, and build it 
up by looking out for them beforehand. What difficulties there are in 
doing this. 

188. B ut again, no one must retire through cowardice, or give up his faith 
from fear of danger. With what grace must the soul be equipped, and the 
mind trained and taught to stand firm, so as never to be disturbed by any 
fears, to be broken by any troubles, or to yield to any torments! With 
what difficulty indeed are they borne! But as all pains seem less in the fear 
of greater pains, so also, if thou dost determine not to go from thy course, 
and layest before thee the fear of divine judgment and the torment of 
eternal punishment, canst though gain endurance of mind. 

189. If a man thus prepares himself, he gives signs of great diligence. On 
the other hand it is a sign of a natural ability, if a man by the power of his 
mind can forsee the future, and put as it were before his eyes what may 
happen, and decide what he ought to do if it should take place. It may 
happen, too, that he will think over two or three things at once, which he 
supposes may come either singly or together, and that he settles what he 
will do with them as he thinks will be to the most advantage, in the event 
of their coming either singly or together. 

200. Therefore it is the duty of a brave man not to shut his eyes when 
anything threatens, but to put it before him and to search it out as it were 
in the mirror of his mind, and to meet the future with foreseeing thought, 
for fear he might afterwards have to say: This has come to me because I 
thought it could not come about. If misfortunes are not looked for 
beforehand, they quickly get a hold over us. In war an unexpected enemy 
is with difficulty resisted, and if he finds the others unprepared, he easily 
overcomes them; so evils unthought of readily break down the soul. 

200. In these two points, then, consists the excellency of the soul: so that 
thy soul, trained in good thought, and with a pure heart, first, may see 



115 

what is true and virtuous (for "blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall 
see God"), and may decide that only to be good which is virtuous; and, 
next, may never be disturbed by business of any kind, not get tossed about 
by any desires. 

201. Not that this is an easy thing for any one. For what is so difficult as 
to discern, as though from some watch-tower, the resources of wisdom and 
all those other things, which to most seem so great and noble? Again, what 
so difficult as to place one's decision on fixed grounds, and to despise 
what one has decided to be worthless, as of no good? Or, once more, what 
so difficult, when some misfortune has happened, and it is looked on as 
something serious and grieving, as to bear it in such a way that one 
considers it nothing beyond what is natural, when one reads: "Naked was I 
born, naked shall I go forth. What the Lord gave, the Lord hath taken 
away" (he who said this had lost children and possessions), and to 
preserve in all things the character of a wise and upright man, as he did 
who says: "As the Lord pleased, so did He. Blessed be the name of the 
Lord." And again: "thous speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. 
Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" 



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One must show fortitude in fighting against all vices, especially 
against avarice. Holy Job teaches this lesson. 

202. Fortitude of soul, then, is not an unimportant thing, nor is it cut off 
from the other virtues, for it wages war in conjunction with the virtues, 
and alone defends the beauty of all the virtues, and guards their powers of 
discernment, and fights against all vices with implacable hate. It is 
unconquerable as regards labors, brave to endure dangers, stern as against 
pleasures, hardened against allurements, to which it knows not how to lend 
an ear, nor, so to speak, to give a greeting. It cares not for money, and flies 
from avarice as from a plague that destroys all virtue. For nothing is so 
much opposed to fortitude as when one allows oneself to be overcome by 
gain. Often when the enemy is repulsed and the hosts of the foe are turned 
to flight, has the warrior died miserable among these whom he has laid low, 
whilst he is busy with the spoils of the fallen; and the legions, whilst busy 
with their booty, have called back upon them the enemy that had fled, and 
so have been robbed of their triumph. 

203. Fortitude, then, must repulse so foul a plague and crush it down. It 
must not let itself be tempted by desires, nor shaken by fear. Virtue stands 
true to itself and bravely pursues all vices as though they were the poison 
of virtue. It must repel anger as it were with arms, for it removes counsel 
far off. It must avoid it as though it were some severe sickness. It must 
further be on its guard against a desire for glory, which often has done 
harm when sought for too anxiously, and always when it has been once 
attained. 

204. What of all this was wanting in holy Job, or in his virtue, or what 
came upon him in the way of vice? How did he bear the distress of 
sickness or cold or hunger? How did he look upon the dangers which 
menaced his safety? Were the riches from which so much went to the poor 
gathered together by plunder? Did he ever allow greed for wealth, or the 
desire for pleasures, or lusts to rise in his heart? Did ever the unkind 



117 

disputes of the three princes, or the insults of the slaves, rouse him to 
anger? Did glory carry him away like some fickle person when he called 
down vengeance on himself if ever he had hidden even an involuntary fault, 
or had feared the multitude of the people so as not to confess it in the sight 
of all? His virtues had no point of contact with any vices, but stood firm 
on their own ground. Who, then, was so brave as holy Job? How can he be 
put second to any, on whose level hardly one like himself can be placed? 



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Courage in war was not wanting in our forefathers, as is shown by 
the example of the men of old, especially by the glorious deed of 
Eleazar. 



205 . B ut perhaps renown in war keeps some so bound to itself as to make 
them think that fortitude is to be found in battle alone, and that therefore I 
had gone aside to speak of these things, because that was wanting in us. 
But how brave was Joshua the son of Nun, who in one battle laid low five 
kings together with their people! Again, when he fought against the 
Gibeonites and feared that night might stop him from gaining the victory, 
he called out with deep faith and high spirit: "Let the sun stand still;" and 
it stood still until the victory was complete. Gideon with three hundred 
men gained a triumph over a great nation and a cruel foe. Jonathan when a 
young man showed great courage in battle, and what shall I say about the 
Maccabees? 

206. First, I will speak of the people of our fathers. They were ready to 
fight for the temple of God and for their rights, and when attacked on the 
Sabbath day by the craft of the enemy, willingly allowed wounds to be 
inflicted on their unprotected bodies, rather than join in the fight, so that 
they might not defile the Sabbath. They all gladly gave themselves up to 
death, but the Maccabees thinking that then all the nation would perish, on 
the Sabbath also, when they were challenged to fight, took vengeance for 
the death of their innocent brethren. And afterwards when he had been 
roused by this to fresh exertions, King Antiochus, having begun the war 
afresh under to leadership of his generals Lysias, Nicanor, and Georgias, 
was so utterly crushed, together with his Eastern and Assyrian forces, that 
he left 48,000 lying on the battle-field, slain by an army of but 3,000 men. 

207. Mark the courage of the leader, Judas Maccabaeus, as exemplified in 
the character on one of his soldiers. Eleazar, meeting with an elephant 
higher than all the rest, and with all the royal trappings upon it, and 
thinking that the king was on it, ran hastily and threw himself into the 



119 

midst of the legion; and, casting away his shield, with both hands he slew 
those opposed to him, until he reached the beast. Then he got beneath it, 
thrust in his sword and slew it. But the beast in falling crushed Eleazar and 
so killed him. What courage of mind was his then, first, in that he feared 
not death, next because, when surrounded by enemies, he was carried by it 
into the thickest of his foes and penetrated the very center! Then, 
despising death, and casting away his shield, he ran beneath the huge beast, 
wounded it with both his hands, and let it fall upon him. He ran beneath if 
so as to give a more deadly blow. Enclosed by its fall, rather than crushed, 
he was buried in his own triumph. 

208. Nor was he deceived in his intention, though he was deceived by the 
royal ornaments. For the enemy, startled at such an exhibition of valor, 
dared not rush upon this single unarmed man, held fast though he was. 
They were so terrified after the mischance of the slaughter of the beast, 
that they considered themselves altogether unequal to the valor of one. 
Nay, King Antiochus, son of Lysias, terrified at the fortitude of one, asked 
for peace. He had come to the war with 120,000 armed men and with 32 
elephants, which glittered and gleamed with the sheen of arms like a line of 
burning lamps, as the sun rose upon them, marching along one by one, like 
very mountains for size. Thus Eleazar left peace as the heir of his courage. 
These are the signs of triumphs. 



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After praising Judas' and Jonathan's loftiness of mind, the 
constancy of the martyrs in their endurance of tortures, which is no 
small part of fortitude, is next brought before us. 

209. But as fortitude is proved, not only by prosperity but also in 
adversity, let us now consider the death of Judas Maccabaeus. For he, 
after Nicanor, the general of King Demetrius, was defeated, boldly engaged 
20,000 of the king's army with 900 men who were anxious to retire for 
fear of being overcome by so great a multitude, but whom he persuaded to 
endure a glorious death rather than to retire in disgraceful flight. "Let us 
not leave," he says, "any stain upon our glory." Thus, then, engaging in 
battle after having fought from sunrise till evening, he attacks and quickly 
drives back the right wing, where he sees the strongest troop of the enemy 
to be. But whilst pursuing the fugitives from the rear he gave a chance for a 
wound to be inflicted, thus he found the spot of death more full of glory 
for himself than any triumph. 

210. Why need I further mention his brother Jonathan, who fought against 
the king's force, but with a small troop. Though forsaken by his men, and 
left with only two, he retrieved the battle, drove back the enemy, and 
recalled his own men, who were flying in every direction, to share in his 
triumph. 

211. Here, then is fortitude in war, which bear no light impress of what is 
virtuous and seemly upon it, for it prefers death to slavery and disgrace. 
But what am I to say of the sufferings of the martyrs? Not to go too far 
abroad, did not the children of Maccabaeus gain triumphs over the proud 
King Antiochus, as great as those of their fathers? The latter in truth were 
armed, but they conquered without arms. The company of the seven 
brothers stood unconquered, though surrounded by the legions of the 
king — tortures failed, tormentors ceased; but the martyrs failed not. One, 
having had the skin of his head pulled off, though changed in appearance, 
grew in courage. Another, bidden to put forth his tongue, so that it might 



121 

be cut off, answered: "The Lord hears Moses when silent. He hears better 
the silent thoughts of His own than the voice of all others. Dost thou fear 
the scourge of my tongue — and dost thou not fear the scourge of blood 
split upon the ground? Blood, too, has a voice whereby it cries aloud to 
God — as it did in the case of Abel." 

212. What shall I say of the mother who with joy looked on the corpses of 
her children as so many trophies, and found delight in the voices of her 
dying sons, as though in the songs of singers, noting in her children the 
tones of the glorious harp of her own heart, and a sweeter harmony of love 
than any strain of the lute could give? 

213. What shall I say of those two-year-old children of Bethlehem, who 
received the palm of victory before they felt their natural life within them? 
What of St. Agnes, who when in danger as regards two great matters, that 
is, chastity and life, protected her chastity and exchanged life for 
immortality? 

214. And let us not pass by St. Lawrence, who, seeing Xystus his bishop 
led to martyrdom, began to weep, not at his sufferings but at the fact that 
he himself was to remain behind. With these words he began to address 
him: "Whither, father, goest thou without my son? Whither, holy priest, 
art thou hastening without thy deacon? Never wast thou wont to offer 
sacrifice without an attendant. What are thou displeased at in me, my 
father? Hast thou found me unworthy? Prove, then, whether thou hast 
chosen a fitting servant. To him whom thou hast entrusted to consecration 
of the Savior' s blood, to whom thou hast granted fellowship in partaking 
of the Sacraments, to him dost thou refuse a part in thy death? Beware, 
lest thy good judgment by endangered, whilst thy fortitude receives its 
praise. The rejection of a pupil is the loss of the teacher; or how is it that 
noble and illustrious men gain the victory in the contests of their scholars 
rather than in their own? Abraham offered his son, Peter sent Stephen on 
before him! Do thou, father, show forth thy courage in thy son. Offer me 
whom thou hast trained, that thou, confident in thy choice of me, mayest 
reach the crown in worthy company." 

215. Then Xystus said: "I leave thee not nor forsake thee. Greater 
struggles yet await thee. We as old men have to undergo an easier fight; a 



122 

more glorious triumph over the tyrants awaits thee, a young man. Soon 
shalt thou come. Cease weeping; after three days thou shalt follow me. 
This interval must come between the priest and his levite. It was not for 
thee to conquer under the eye of thy master, as though thou neededst a 
helper. Why dost thou seek to share in my death? I leave to thee its full 
inheritance. Why dost thou need my presence? Let the weak disciples go 
before their master, let the brave follow him, that they may conquer 
without him. For they no longer need his guidance. So Elijah left Elisha. To 
thee I entrust the full succession to my own courage." 

216. Such was their contention, and surely a worthy one, wherein priest 
and attendant strove as to who should be the first to suffer for the name of 
Christ. When that tragic piece is played, it is said there is great applause in 
the theatre as Pylades says he is Orestes, whilst Orestes declares that he is 
really himself. The former acted as he did, that he might die for Orestes, 
and Orestes, that might not allow Pylades to be slain instead of himself. 
But it was not right that they should live, for each of them was guilty of 
parricide, the one because he had committed the crime, the other because 
he had helped in its commission. But here there was nothing to call holy 
Lawrence to act thus but his love and devotion. However, after three days 
he was placed upon the gridiron by the tyrant whom he mocked, and was 
burnt. He said: "The flesh is roasted, turn it and eat." So by the courage of 
his mind he overcame the power of fire. 



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The powers that be are not needlessly to be irritated. One must not 
lend one's ears to flattery. 

217.IT hink we must take care, lest in being led on by too great a desire 
for glory, we should abuse the powers that be, and arouse the minds of the 
heathen, who are opposed to us, to desire persecution, and excite them to 
anger. How many do some cause to perish, that they themselves may 
continue to the end, and overcome their tortures ! 

218. We must also look to it that we do not open our ears to flatterers. To 
allow oneself to be smoothed down by flattery seems to be a sign not only 
of want of fortitude, but a sign of actual cowardice. 



124 

CHAPTER 43 



On temperance and its chief parts, especially tranquility of mind and 
moderation, care for what is virtuous, and reflection on what is 
seemly. 

219. As we have spoken of three of the virtues, there remains but the 
fourth for us to speak of. This is called temperance and moderation; 
wherein, before all else, tranquillity of mind, the attainment of gentleness, 
the grace of moderation, regard for what is virtuous, and reflection on what 
is seemly are sought and looked for. 

220. We must keep to a certain order in life, so that a foundation may be 
laid with our first feelings of modesty, for that is the friend and ally of 
calmness of mind. Avoiding over-confidence, averse to all excess, it loves 
sobriety, guards what is honorable, and seeks only what is seemly. 

221. Let choice of intercourse come next. Let us link ourselves with older 
men of approved goodness. For as the companionship of people of our 
own age is the pleasanter, so that of our elders is the safer. By their 
guidance and the conduct of their lives they give color to the character of 
their lives they give color to the character of younger men, and tinge them 
as it were with the deep purple probity. For if they who are ignorant of a 
locality are very glad to take a journey in the company of skilled guides, 
how much more ought young men to enter on the path of life, which is 
new to them, in the company ofold men; so that they may notgo wrong, 
and turn aside from the true path of virtue. For nothing is better than to 
have the same men both to direct us in life, and also to be witnesses of 
how we live. 

222. One must also in every action consider what is suitable for different 
persons, times, and ages, and what will also be in accordance with the 
abilities of individuals. For often what befits one does not befit another; 
one thing suits a youth, another an old man; one thing does in danger, 
another in good fortune. 



125 

223. David danced before the ark of the Lord. Samuel did not dance; yet 
David was not blamed, while the other was praised. David changed his 
countenance before the king, whose name was Achish. If he had done this 
without any fear of being recognized, he would certainly not have escaped 
the charge of levity. Saul also, surrounded by the company of prophets, 
himself prophesied. Yet of him alone, as though he were unworthy, was it 
said: "Is Saul also among the prophets?" 



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Every one ought to apply himself to the duties suited to his 
character. Many, however, are hindered by following their father's 
pursuits. Clerics act in a different way. 

224. Each one knows his own powers. Therefore let each one apply 
himself to that which he has chosen as suitable to himself. But he must 
first consider what will be the consequences. He may know his good 
points, but he must know his faults also. He must also be a fair judge of 
himself, so as to aim at what is good and avoid what is bad. 

225. One is more fitted for the post of reader, another does better for the 
singing, a third is more solicitous for exorcising those possessed with an 
evil spirit, another, again, is held to be more suited to have the charge of 
the sacred things. All these things a priest should look at. He should give 
each one that particular duty for which he is best fitted. For whither each 
one's bent of mind leads him, or whatever duty befits him, that position or 
duty is filled with greater grace. 

226. But as this is a difficult matter in every state of life, so in our case it 
is most difficult. For each one is wont to follow his parent's choice in life. 
Thus those whose fathers were in the army generally enter the army too. 
And others do the same with regard to the different professions. 

227. In the clerical office, however, nothing is more rare than to find a man 
to follow his father's footsteps, either because the difficulties of the work 
hold him back, or continence in the uncertain days of youth is too difficult 
to hold to, or the life seems to be too quiet for the activity of youth. So 
they turn to those pursuits which are thought to be more showy. Most, 
indeed, prefer the present to the future. They are fighting for the present, 
we for the future. Wherefore it follows that the greater the cause in which 
we are engaged, the more must our attention be devoted to it. 



127 

CHAPTER 45 



On what is noble and virtuous, and what the difference between 
them is, as stated both in the profane and sacred writers. 



228. Let us then hold fast modesty, and that moderation which adds to the 
beauty of the whole of life. For it is no light thing in every matter to 
preserve due measure and to bring about order, wherein that is plainly 
conspicuous which we call "decorum," or what is seemly. This is so 
closely connected with what is virtuous, that one cannot separate the two. 
For what is seemly is also virtuous — and what is virtuous is seemly. So 
that the distinction lies rather in the words than in the things themselves. 
That there is a difference between them we can understand, but we cannot 
explain it. 

229. To make an attempt to get some sort of a distinction between them, 
we may say that what is virtuous may be compared to the good health and 
soundness of the body, whilst what is seemly is, as it were, its comeliness 
and beauty. And as beauty seems to stand above soundness and health and 
yet cannot exist without them, nor be separated from them in any way — 
for unless one has good health, one cannot have beauty and comeliness — 
so what is virtuous contains in itself also what is seemly, so as to seem to 
start with it, and to be unable to exist without it. What is virtuous, then, is 
like soundness in all our work and undertaking; what is seemly is, as it 
were, the outward appearance, which, when joined with what is virtuous, 
can only be known apart in our thoughts. For though in some cases it 
seems to stand out conspicuous, yet it has its root in what is virtuous, 
though the flower is its own. Rooted in this, it flourishes; otherwise it fails 
and droops. For what is virtue, but to avoid anything shameful as though it 
were death? And what is the opposite of virtue, except that which brings 
barrenness and death? If, then, the essence of virtue is strong and vigorous, 
seemliness will also quickly spring forth like a flower, for its root is sound. 
But if the root of its purpose is corrupt, nothing will grow out of it. 



128 

230. In our writings this is put somewhat more plainly. For David says: 
"The Lord reigneth, He is clothed with splendor." And the Apostle says: 
"Walk honestly as in the day." The Greek text has ei)o%r|jj,6vco<; — and 
this really means: with good clothing, with a good appearance. When God 
made the first man, He created him with a good figure, with limbs well set, 
and gave him a very noble appearance. He had not given him remission of 
sins. But afterwards He, Who came in the form of a servant, and in the 
likeness of man, renewed him with His Spirit, and poured His grace into 
his heart, and put on Himself the splendor of the redemption of the human 
race. Therefore the Prophet said: "The Lord reigneth, He is clothed with 
splendor." And again he says: "A hymn beseems Thee, O God, in Sion." 
That is: It is right and good to fear Thee, to love Thee, to pray to Thee, to 
honor Thee, for it is written: "Let all things be done decently and in order." 
But we can also fear, love, ask, honor men; yet the hymn especially is 
addressed to God. This seemliness which we offer to God we may believe 
to be far better than other things. It befits also a woman to pray in an 
orderly dress, but it especially beseems her to pray covered, and to pray 
giving promise of purity together with a good conversation. 



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A twofold division of what is seemly is given. Next it is shown that 
what is according to nature is virtuous, and what is otherwise must 
be looked on as shameful. This division is explained by examples. 

231. Seemliness, therefore, which stands conspicuous has a twofold 
division. For there is what we may call a general seemliness, which is 
diffused through all that is virtuous, and is seen, as one may say, in the 
whole body. It is also individual, and shows itself clearly in some 
particular part. The first has a consistent form and the perfection of what 
is virtuous harmonizing in every action. For all its life is consistent with 
itself, and there is no discrepancy in anything. The other is concerned 
when there is any special action done in a virtuous course of life. 

232. At the same time let us note that it is seemly to live in accordance 
with nature, and to pass our time in accordance with it, and that whatever 
is contrary to nature is shameful. For the Apostle asks: "Is it comely that 

a woman pray unto God uncovered; doth not nature itself teach you that if 
a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? For it is contrary to nature." 
And again he says: "If a woman have long hair, it is a glory unto her." It is 
according to nature, since her hair is given her for a veil, for it is a natural 
veil. Thus nature arranges for us both character and appearance, and we 
ought to observe her directions. Would that we could guard her innocence, 
and not change what we have received by our wickedness! 

233. We have that general seemliness; for God made the beauty of this 
world. We have it also in its parts; for when God made the light, and 
marked off the day from the night, when He made heaven, and separated 
land and seas, when He set the sun and moon and stars to shine on the 
earth, He approved of them all one by one. Therefore this comeliness, 
which shone forth in each single part of the world, was resplendent in the 
whole, as the Book of Wisdom shows, saying: "I existed, in whom He 
rejoiced when He was glad at the completion of the world." Likewise also 
in the building up of the human body each single member is pleasing, but 



130 

the right adjustment of the members all together delights us far more. For 
thus they seem to be united and fitted in one harmonious whole. 



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What is seemly should always shine forth in our life. What passions, 
then, ought we to allow to come to a head, and which should we 
restrain? 

234. If any one preserves an even tenor in the whole of life, and method in 
all that he does, and sees there is order and consistency in his words and 
moderation in his deeds, then what is seemly stands forth conspicuous in 
his life and shines forth as in some mirror. 

235. There should be besides a pleasant way of speaking, so that we may 
win the good-will of those who hear us, and make ourselves agreeable to all 
our friends and fellow-citizens, if possible. Let none show himself to be 
given to flattery, nor to be desirous of flattery from any one. The one is a 
mark of artfulness, the other of vanity. 

236. Let no one ever look down on what another, least of all a good man, 
thinks of him, for thus he learns to give regard to the good. For to disregard 
the judgment of good men is a sign of conceitedness or of weakness. One 
of these arises from pride, the other from carelessness. 

237. We must also guard against the motions of our soul. The soul must 
always watch and look after itself, so as to guard itself against itself. For 
there are motions in which there is a kind of passion that breaks forth as it 
were in a sort of rush. Wherefore in Greek it is called 6pur|, because it 
comes out suddenly with some force. In these there lies no slight force of 
soul or of nature. Its force, however, is twofold: on the one side it rests on 
passion, on the other on reason, which checks passion, and makes it 
obedient to itself, and leads it whither it will; and trains it by careful 
teaching to know what ought to be done, and what ought to be avoided, so 
as to make it submit to its kind tamer. 

238. For we ought to be careful never to do anything rashly or carelessly, 
or anything at all for which we cannot give a reasonable ground. For though 
a reason for our action is not given to every one, yet everybody looks into 
it. Nor, indeed, have we anything whereby we can excuse ourselves. For 



132 

though there is a sort of natural force in every passion of ours, yet that 
same passion is subject to reason by the law of nature itself, and is 
obedient to it. Wherefore it is the duty of a careful watchman so to keep a 
lookout, that passion may not outrun reason nor utterly forsake it, lest by 
outstripping it confusion be caused, and reason be shut out, and come to 
nothing by such desertion. Disquiet destroys consistency. Withdrawal 
shows cowardice and implies indolence. For when the mind is disquieted 
passion spreads wide and far, and in a fierce outburst endures not the reins 
of reason and feels not the management of its driver so as to be turned 
back. Wherefore as a rule not only is the soul perturbed and reason lost, 
but one's countenance gets inflamed by anger or by lust, it grows pale with 
fear, it contains not itself in pleasure, and cannot bear joy. 

239. When this happens, then that natural judgment and weight of 
character is cast aside, and that consistency which alone in deed and 
thought can keep up its own authority and what is seemly, can no longer 
be retained. 

240. But fiercer passion springs from excessive anger,' which the pain of 
some wrong received kindles within us. The monitions of the psalm which 
forms the opening of our subject instruct us on this point. Beautifully, 
then, has it come about that, in writing on duties, we used that declaration 
of our opening passage which also itself has to do with the direction of 
duty. 

241. But since (as was but right) we there only touched upon the matter, 
as to how each one ought to take care not to be disturbed when wrong is 
done him, for fear that our preliminary remarks should run to too great 
length, I think that I will now discuss it a little more fully. For the occasion 
is opportune, as we are speaking on the different parts of temperance, to 
see how anger may be checked. 



133 
CHAPTER 48 



The argument for restraining anger is given again. Then the three 
classes of those who receive wrongs are set forth; to the most perfect 
of which the Apostle and David are said to have attained. He takes 
the opportunity to state the difference between this and the future 
life. 

242. We wish if we can to point out three classes of men who receive 
wrongs in holy Scripture. One of these forms the class of those whom the 
sinner reviles, abuses, rides over rough-shod. And just because justice fails 
them, shame grows, pain increases. Very many of my own order, of my 
own number, are like these. For if any one does me, who am weak, an 
injury, perhaps, though I am weak, I may forgive the wrong done me. If he 
charges me with an offense I am not such an one as to be content with the 
witness of my own conscience, although I know I am clear of what he 
brings against me; but I desire, just because I am weak, to wash out the 
mark of my inborn shame. Therefore I demand eye for eye, and tooth for 
tooth, and repay abuse with abuse. 

243. If, however, I am one who is advancing, although not yet perfect, I do 
not return the reproaches; and if he breaks out into abuse, and fills my ears 
with reproaches, I am silent and do not answer. 

244. But if I am perfect (I say this only by way of example, for in truth I 
am weak), if, then, I am perfect, I bless him that curses me, as Paul also 
blessed, for he says: "Being reviled we bless." He had heard Him Who 
says: "Love your enemies, pray for them which despitefully use you. and 
persecute you." And so Paul suffered persecution and endured it, for he 
conquered and calmed his human feelings for the sake of the reward set 
before him, namely, that he should become a son of God if he loved his 
enemies. 

245. We call show, too, that holy David was like to Paul in this same class 
of virtue. When the son ofShimei cursed him, and charged him with heavy 
offenses, at the first he was silent and humbled himself, and was silent 
even about his good deeds, that is, his knowledge of good works. Then he 



134 

even asked to be cursed; for when he was cursed he hoped to gain divine 
pity. 

246. But see how he stored up humility and justice and prudence so as to 
merit grace from the Lord! At first he said: "Therefore he cursed me, 
because the Lord hath said unto him that he should curse." Here we have 
humility; for he thought that those things which are divinely ordered were 
to be endured with an even mind, as though he were but some servant lad. 
Then he said: "Behold my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh 
my life." Here we have justice. For if we suffer hard things at the hand of 
our own family, why are we angry at what is done to us by strangers? 
Lastly he says: "Let him alone that he may curse, for the Lord hath bidden 
him. It may be that the Lord will look on my humiliation and requite me 
good for this cursing." So he bore not only the abuse, but left the man 
unpunished when throwing stones and following him. Nay, more I After 
his victory he freely granted him pardon when he asked for it. 

247. 1 have written this to show that holy David, in true evangelical spirit, 
was not only not offended, but was even thankful to his abuser, and was 
delighted rather than angered by his wrongs, for which he thought some 
return would be granted to him. But, though perfect, he sought something 
still more perfect. As a man he grew hot at the pain of his wrongs, but like 
a good soldier he conquered, he endured like a brave wrestler. The end and 
aim of his patience was the expectation of the fulfillment of the promises, 
and therefore he said: "Lord, make me to know mine end and the measure 
of my days, what it is: that I may know what is wanting to me." He seeks, 
then, that end of the heavenly promises, when each one shall arise in his 
own order: "Christ the firstfruits, then they that are Christ's who have 
believed in His coming. Then cometh the end." For when the kingdom is 
delivered up to God, even the Father, and all the powers are put down, as 
the Apostle says, then perfection begins. Here, then, is the hindrance, here 
the weakness of the perfect; there full perfection. Thus it is he asks for 
those days of eternal life which are, and not for those which pass away, so 
that he may know what is wanting to him, what is the land of promise that 
bears everlasting fruits, which is the first mansion in his Father's house, 
which the second, which the third, wherein each one will rest according to 
his merits. 



135 

248. We then must strive for that wherein is perfection and wherein is 
truth. Here is the shadow, here the image; there the truth. The shadow is in 
the law, the image in the Gospel, the truth in heaven. In old times a lamb, a 
Calf was offered; now Christ is offered. But He is offered as man and as 
enduring suffering. And He offers Himself as a priest to take away our 
sins, here in an image, there in truth, where with the Father He intercedes 
for us as our Advocate Here, then, we walk in an image, we see in an 
image; there face to face where is full perfection. For all perfection rests in 
the truth. 



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CHAPTER 49 



We must reserve the likeness of the virtues in ourselves. The 
likeness of the devil and of vice must be got rid of, and especially 
that of avarice; for this deprives us of liberty, and despoils those who 
are in the midst of vanities of the image of God. 

249 . W hilst, then, we are here let us preserve the likeness, that there we 
may attain to the truth. Let the likeness of justice exist in us, likewise that 
of wisdom, for we shall come to that day and shall be rewarded according 
to our likeness. 

250. Let not the adversary find his image in thee, let him not find fury nor 
rage; for in these exists the likeness of wickedness. "Our adversary the 
devil as a roaring lion seeketh whom he may kill, whom he may devour." 
Let him not find desire for gold, nor heaps of money, nor the appearance 
of vices, lest he take from thee the voice of liberty. For the voice of true 
liberty is heard, when thou canst say: "The prince of this world shall 
come, and shall find no part in me." Therefore, if thou art sure that he will 
find nothing in thee, when he comes to search through thee, thou wilt say, 
as the patriarch Jacob did to Laban: "Know now if there is aught of thine 
with me." Rightly do we account Jacob blessed with whom Laban could 
find naught of his. For Rachel had hidden the gold and silver images of his 
gods. 

251. If, then, wisdom, and faith, and contempt of the world, and spiritual 
grace, exclude all faithlessness, thou wilt be blessed; for thou regardest not 
vanity and folly and lying. Is it a light thing to take away from thy 
adversary the opportunity to speak, so that he can have no ground to 
make his complaint against thee? Thus he who looks not on vanity is not 
perturbed; but he who looks upon it is perturbed, and that, too, all to no 
purpose. Is it not a vain thing to heap up riches? for surely to seek for 
fleeting things is vain enough. And when thou hast gathered them, how 
dost thou know that thou shall have them in possession? 

252. Is it not vain for a merchant to journey by night and by day, that he 
may be able to heap up treasures? Is it not vain for him to gather 



137 

merchandise, and to be much perturbed about its price, for fear he might 
sell it for less than he gave? that he should strive everywhere for high 
prices, and thus unexpectedly call up robbers against himself through their 
envy at his much- vaunted business; or that, without waiting for calmer 
winds, impatient of delays, he should meet with shipwreck whilst seeking 
for gain? 

253. And is not he, too, perturbed in vain who with great toil amasses 
wealth, though he knows not what heir to leave it to? Often and often all 
that an avaricious man has got together with the greatest care, his 
spendthrift heir scatters abroad with headlong prodigality. The shameless 
prodigal, blind to the present, heedless of the future, swallows up as in an 
abyss what took so long to gather. Often, too, the desired successor gains 
but envy for his share of the inheritance, and by his sudden death hands 
over the whole amount of the succession, which he has hardly entered 
upon, to strangers. 

254. Why, then, dost thou idly spin a web which is worthless and 
fruitless? And why dost thou build up useless heaps of treasures like 
spiders' webs? For though they overflow, they are no good; nay, they 
denude thee of the likeness of God, and put on thee the likeness of the 
earthy. If any one has the likeness of the tyrant, is he not liable to 
condemnation? Thou layest aside the likeness of the Eternal King, and 
raisest in thyself the image of death. Rather cast out of the kingdom of thy 
soul the likeness of the devil, and raise up the likeness of Christ. Let this 
shine forth in thee; let this glow brightly in thy kingdom, that is, thy soul, 
for it destroys the likeness of all vices. David says of this: "O Lord, in 
Thy kingdom thou bringest their images to nothing." For when the Lord 
has adorned Jerusalem according to His own likeness, then every likeness 
of the adversary is destroyed. 



138 

CHAPTER 50 



The Levites ought to be utterly free from all earthly desires. What 
their virtues should be on the Apostle's own showing, and how great 
their purity must be. Also what their dignity and duty is, for the 
carrying out of which the chief virtues are necessary. He states that 
these were not unknown to the philosophers, but that they erred in 
their order. Some are by their nature in accordance with duty, which 
yet on account of what accompanies them become contrary to duty. 
From whence he gathers what gifts the office of the Levites demands. 
To conclude, he adds an exposition of Moses' words when blessing 
the tribe of Levi. 

255. If, then, in the Gospel of the Lord the people themselves were taught 
and led to despise riches, how much more ought ye Levites no longer to be 
bound down by earthly desires. For your portion is God. For when their 
earthly possessions were portioned out by Moses to the people of our 
fathers, the Lord suffered not the Levites to have a share in that earthly 
possession, for He Himself would be the strength of their inheritance. 
Wherefore David says: "The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of 
my cup." Whence we get the name "Levite," which means: "Himself is 
mine," or "Himself for me." Great, then, is his honor, that God should say 
of him: Himself is Mine. Or, as was said to Peter about the piece of money 
found in the fish's mouth: "Give to them for Me and for thee." Wherefore 
the Apostle, when he said: "A bishop should be sober, modest, of good 
behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach, not covetous, nor a brawler, 
one that rules well his own house," also added: "Likewise must the 
deacons be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy 
of filthy lucre, holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And 
let them also first be proved, and so let them serve, being found blameless. 

it 

256.Wenotehow much is required of us. The minister of the Lord should 
abstain from wine, so that he may be upheld by the good witness not only 
of the faithful but also by those who are without. For it is right that the 
witness to our acts and works should be the opinion of the public at large, 



139 

that the office be not disgraced. Thus he who sees the minister of the altar 
adorned with suitable virtues may praise their Author, and reverence the 
Lord Who has such servants. The praise of the Lord sounds forth where 
there is a pure possession and an innocent rule at home. 

257. But what shall I say about chastity, when only one and no second 
union is allowed? As regards marriage, the law is, not to marry again, nor 
to seek union with another wife. It seems strange to many why 
impediment should be caused by a second marriage entered on before 
baptism, so as to prevent election to the clerical office, and to the 
reception of the gift of ordination; seeing that even crimes are not wont to 
stand in the way, if they have been put away in the sacrament of baptism. 
But we must learn, that in baptism sin can be forgiven, but law cannot be 
abolished. In the case of marriage there is no sin, but there is a law. 
Whatever sin there is can be put away, whatever law there is cannot be laid 
aside in marriage. How could he exhort to widowhood who himself had 
married more than once? 

258. But ye know that the ministerial office must be kept pure and 
unspotted, and must not be defiled by conjugal intercourse; ye know this, I 
say, who have received the gifts of the sacred ministry, with pure bodies, 
and unspoilt modesty, and without ever having enjoyed conjugal 
intercourse. I am mentioning this, because in some out-of-the-way places, 
when they enter on the ministry, or even when they become priests, they 
have begotten children. They defend this on the ground of old custom, 
when, as it happened, the sacrifice was offered up at long intervals. 
However, even the people had to be purified two or three days 
beforehand, so as to come clean to the sacrifice, as we read in the Old 
Testament. They even used to wash their clothes. If such regard was paid 
in what was only the figure, how much ought it to be shown in the reality! 
Learn then, Priest and Levite, what it means to wash thy clothes. Thou 
must have a pure body wherewith to offer up the sacraments. If the 
people were forbidden to approach their victim unless they washed their 
clothes, dost thou, while foul in heart and body, dare to make supplication 
for others? Dost thou dare to make an offering for them? 

259. The duty of the Levites is no light one, for the Lord says of them: 
"Behold I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel, instead 



140 

of every first-born that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel. 
These shall be their redemption, and the Levites shall be Mine. For I 
hallowed unto Me all the first-born in the land of Egypt." We know that 
the Levites are not reckoned among the rest, but are preferred before all, 
for they are chosen out of all, and are sanctified like the firstfruits and the 
firstlings which belong to the Lord, since the payment of vows and 
redemption for sin are offered by them. "Thou shalt not receive them," He 
says, "among the children of Israel, but thou shalt appoint the Levites over 
the tabernacle of testimony, and over all the vessels thereof, and over all 
things that belong to it. They shall bear the tabernacle and all the vessels 
thereof, and they shall minister in it, and shall encamp round about the 
tabernacle. And when the tabernacle setteth forward the Levites shall take 
it down, and when the camp is pitched they shall set up the tabernacle 
again. And the stranger that cometh nigh shall surely be put to death." 

260. Thou, then, art chosen out of the whole number of the children of 
Israel, regarded as the firstfruits of the sacred offerings, set over the 
tabernacle so as to keep guard in the camp of holiness and faith, to which if 
a stranger approach, he shall surely die. Thou art placed there to watch 
over the ark of the covenant. All do not see the depths of the mysteries, 
for they are hid from the Levites, lest they should see who ought not to 
see, and they who cannot serve should take it up. Moses, indeed, saw the 
circumcision of the Spirit, but veiled it, so as to give circumcision only in 
an outward sign. He saw the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth; he 
saw the sufferings of the Lord, but he veiled the unleavened bread of truth 
in the material unleavened bread, he veiled the sufferings of the Lord in the 
sacrifice of a lamb or a calf. Good Levites have ever preserved the mystery 
entrusted to them under the protection of their own faith, and yet dost 
thou think little of what is entrusted to thee? First, thou shalt see the deep 
things of God, which needs wisdom. Next, thou must keep watch for the 
people; this requires justice. Thou must defend the camp and guard the 
tabernacle, which needs fortitude. Thou must show thyself continent and 
sober, and this needs temperance. 

261. These chief virtues, they who are without have recognized, but they 
considered that the order resting on society was higher than that resting on 
wisdom; though wisdom is the foundation, and justice the building which 
cannot stand unless it have a foundation. The foundation is Christ. 



141 

262. First stands faith, which is a sign of wisdom, as Solomon says, in 
following his father: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." 
And the law says: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, thou shalt love thy 
neighbor." It is a noble thing to do one's kindnesses and duties towards the 
whole of the human race. But it is ever most seemly that thou shouldst 
give to God the most precious thing thou hast, that is, thy mind, for thou 
hast nothing better than that. When thou hast paid thy debt to thy 
Creator, then thou mayest labor for men, to show them kindness, and to 
give help; then thou mayest assist the needy with money, or by some 
duty, or some service that lies in the way of thy ministry; by money to 
support him; by paying a debt, so as to free him that is bound; by 
undertaking a duty, so as to take charge of a trust, which he fears to lose, 
who has put it by in trust. 

263. It is a duty, then, to take care of and to restore what has been 
entrusted to us. But meanwhile a change comes, either in time or 
circumstances, so that it is no longer a duty to restore what one has 
received. As, for instance, when a man demands back his money as an 
open enemy, to use it against his country, and to offer his wealth to 
barbarians. Or, if thou shouldst have to restore it, whilst another stood by 
to extort it from him by force. If thou restore money to a raving lunatic 
when he cannot keep it; if thou give up to a madman a sword once put by 
with thee, whereby he may kill himself, is it not an act contrary to duty to 
pay the debt? Is it not contrary to duty to take knowingly what has been 
got by a thief, so that he who has lost it is cheated out of it? 

264. It is also sometimes contrary to duty to fulfill a promise, or to keep 
an oath. As was the case with Herod, who swore that whatever was asked 
he would give to the daughter of Herodies, and so allowed the death of 
John, that he might not break his word. And what shall I say of Jephthah, 
who offered up his daughter in sacrifice, she having been the first to meet 
him as he returned home victorious; whereby he fulfilled the vow which he 
had made that he would offer to God whatever should meet him first. It 
would have been better to make no promise at all, than to fulfill it in the 
death of his daughter. 

265. Ye are not ignorant how important it is to look to this. And so a 
Levite is chosen to guard the sanctuary, one who shall never fail in counsel, 



142 

nor forsake the faith, nor fear death, nor do anything extravagant, so that in 
his whole appearance he may give proof of his earnestness. For he ought 
to have not only his soul but even his eyes in restraint, so that no chance 
mishap may bring a blush to his forehead. For "whosoever looketh on a 
woman to desire her hath already committed adultery with her in his 
heart." Thus adultery is committed not only by actual committal of the 
foul deed, but even by the desire of the ardent gaze. 

266. This seems high and somewhat severe, but in a high office it is not out 
of place. For the grace of the Levites is such that Moses spoke of them as 
follows in his blessing: "Give to Levi his men, give Levi his trusted ones, 
give Levi the lot of his inheritance, and his truth to the holy men whom 
they tempted in temptation, and reviled at the waters of contradiction. 
Who said to his father and mother, I know thee not, and knew not his 
brethren, and renounced his children. He guarded Thy word and kept Thy 
testimony." 

267. They, then, are His men, His trusty ones, who have no deceit in their 
hearts, hide no treachery within them, but guard His words and ponder 
them in their heart, as Mary pondered them; who know not their parents 
so as to put them before their duty; who hate the violators of chastity, and 
avenge the injury done to purity; and know the times for the fulfilling of 
their duty, as also which duty is the greater, which the lesser, and to what 
occasion each is suited. In all this they follow that alone which is virtuous. 
And who, where there are two virtuous duties, think that which is the 
more virtuous must come first. These are in truth tightly blessed. 

268. If any one makes known the just works of the Lord, and offers Him 
incense, then: "Bless, O Lord, his strength; accept the work of his hands," 
that he may find the grace of the prophetic blessing with Him Who liveth 
and reigneth for ever and ever. Amen. 



143 

BOOK II 

CHAPTER 1 



Happiness in life is to be gained by living virtuously, inasmuch as 
thus a Christian, whilst despising glory and the favor of men, desires 
to please God alone in what he does. 

1 . In the first book we spoke of the duties which we thought befitted a 
virtuous life, whereon no one has ever doubted but that a blessed life, 
which the Scripture calls eternal life, depends. So great is the splendor of a 
virtuous life that a peaceful conscience and a calm innocence work out a 
happy life. And as the risen sun hides the globe of the moon and the light 
of the stars, so the brightness of a virtuous life, where it glitters in true 
pure glory, casts into the shade all other things, which, according to the 
desires of the body, are considered to be good, or are reckoned in the eyes 
of the world to be great and noble. 

2. Blessed, plainly, is that life which is not valued at the estimation of 
outsiders, but is known, as judge of itself, by its own inner feelings. It 
needs no popular opinion as its reward in any way; nor has it any fear of 
punishments. Thus the less it strives for glory, the more it rises above it. 
For to those who seek for glory, that reward in the shape of present things 
is but a shadow of future ones, and is a hindrance to eternal life, as it is 
written in the Scriptures: "Verily, I say unto you, they have received their 
reward." This is said of those who, as it were, with the sound of a trumpet 
desire to make known to all the world the liberality they exercise towards 
the poor. It is the same, too, in the case of fasting, which is done but for 
outward show. "They have," he says, "their reward." 

3. It therefore belongs to a virtuous life to show mercy and to fast in 
secret; that thou mayest seem to be seeking a reward from thy God alone, 
and not from men. For he who seeks it from man has his reward, but he 
who seeks it from God has eternal life, which none can give but the Lord of 
Eternity, as it is said: "Verily, I say unto thee, to-day shalt thou be with 



144 

Me in Paradise." Wherefore the Scripture plainly has called that life which 
is blessed, eternal life. It has not been left to be appraised according to 
man's ideas on the subject, but has been entrusted to the divine judgment. 



145 
CHAPTER 2 



The different ideas of philosophers on the subject of happiness. He 
proves, first, from the Gospel that it rests on the knowledge of God 
and the pursuit of good works; next, that it may not be thought that 
this idea was adopted from the philosophers, he adds proofs from the 
witness of the prophets. 

4 . T he philosophers have made a happy life to depend, either (as 
Hieronymus) on freedom from pain, or (as Herillus) on knowledge. For 
Herillus, hearing knowledge very highly praised by Aristotle and 
Theophrastus, made it alone to be the chief good, when they really praised 
it as a good thing, not as the only good; others, as Epicurus, have called 
pleasure such; others, as Callipho, and after him Diodorus, understood it in 
such a way as to make a virtuous life go in union, the one with pleasure, 
the other with freedom from pain, since a happy life could not exist 
without it. Zeno, the Stoic, thought the highest and only good existed in a 
virtuous life. But Aristotle and Theophrastus and the other Peripatetics 
maintained that a happy life consisted in virtue, that is, in a virtuous life, 
but that its happiness was made complete by the advantages of the body 
and other external good things. 

5. But the sacred Scriptures say that eternal life rests on a knowledge of 
divine things and on the fruit of good works. The Gospel bears witness to 
both these statements. For the Lord Jesus spoke thus of knowledge: "This 
is eternal life, to know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom 
Thou hast sent," About works He gives this answer: "Every one that hath 
forsaken house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or 
children, or lands, for My Name's sake, shall receive an hundred- fold, and 
shall inherit everlasting life." 

6. Let no one think that this was but lately said, and that it was spoken of 
by the philosophers before it was mentioned in the Gospel. For the 
philosophers, that is to say, Aristotle and Theophrastus, as also Zeno and 
Hieronymus, certainly lived before the time of the Gospel; but they came 
after the prophets. Let them rather think how long before even the names 



146 

of the philosophers were heard of, both of these seem to have found open 
expression through the mouth of the holy David; for it is written: "Blessed 
is the man whom Thou instructest, O Lord, and teachest him out of Thy 
law." We find elsewhere also: "Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, he 
will rejoice greatly in His commandments," We have proved our point as 
regards knowledge, the reward for which the prophet states to be the fruit 
of eternity, adding that in the house of the man that feareth the Lord, or is 
instructed in His law and rejoices greatly in the divine commandments, "is 
glory and riches; and his justice abideth for ever and ever." He has further 
also in the same psalm stated of good works, that they gain for an upright 
man the gift of eternal life. He speaks thus: "Blessed is the man that 
showeth pity and lendeth, he will guide his affairs with discretion, surely 
he shall not be moved for ever, the righteous shall be in everlasting 
remembrance," And further: "He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor, 
his justice endureth for ever." 

7. Faith, then, has [the promise of] eternal life, for it is a good foundation. 
Good works, too, have the same, for an upright man is tested by his words 
and acts. For if a man is always busy talking and yet is slow to act, he 
shows by his acts how worthless his knowledge is: besides it is much 
worse to know what one ought to do, and yet not to do what one has 
learnt should be done. On the other hand, to be active in good works and 
unfaithful at heart is as idle as though one wanted to raise a beautiful and 
lofty dome upon a bad foundation. The higher one builds, the greater is the 
fall; for without the protection of faith good works cannot stand. A 
treacherous anchorage in a harbor perforates a ship, and a sandy bottom 
quickly gives way and cannot bear the weight of the building placed upon 
it. There then will be found the fullness of reward, where the virtues are 
perfect, and where there is a reasonable agreement between words and acts. 



147 

CHAPTER 3 



The definition of blessedness as drawn from the Scriptures is 
considered and proved. It cannot be enhanced by external good 
fortune, nor can it be weakened by misfortune. 

8. A s, then, knowledge, so far as it stands alone, is put aside either as 
worthless, according to the superfluous discussions of the philosophers, or 
as but an imperfect idea, let us now note how clearly the divine Scriptures 
explain a thing about which we see the philosophers held so many 
involved and perplexing ideas. For the Scriptures state that nothing is good 
but what is virtuous, and declare that virtue is blessed in every 
circumstance, and that it is never enhanced by either corporal or other 
external good fortune, nor is it weakened by adversity. No state is so 
blessed as that wherein one is free from sin, is filled with innocence, and is 
fully supplied with the grace of God. For it is written: "Blessed is the man 
that hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, and hath not stood in 
the way of sinners, and hath not sat in the seat of pestilence, but in the law 
of the Lord was his delight." And again: "Blessed are the undefiled in the 
way, who walk in the law of the Lord." 

9. Innocence, then, and knowledge make a man blessed. We have also noted 
already that the blessedness of eternal life is the reward for good works. It 
remains, then, to show that when the patronage of pleasure or the fear of 
pain is despised (and the first of these one abhors as poor and effeminate, 
and the other as unmanly and weak), that then a blessed life can rise up in 
the midst of pain. This can easily be shown when we read: "Blessed are ye 
when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of 
evil against you for righteousness' sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for 
great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which 
were before you." And again: "He that will come after Me, let him take up 
his cross and follow Me." 



148 
CHAPTER 4 



The same argument, namely, that blessedness is not lessened or 
added to by external matters, is illustrated by the example of men of 
old. 

1 . T here is, then, a blessedness even in pains and griefs. All which virtue 
with its sweetness checks and restrains, abounding as it does in natural 
resources for either soothing conscience or increasing grace. For Moses 
was blessed in no small degree when, surrounded by the Egyptians and 
shut in by the sea, he found by his merits a way for himself and the people 
to go through the waters. When was he ever braver than at the moment 
when, surrounded by the greatest dangers, he gave not up the hope of 
safety, but besought a triumph? 

1 1. What of Aaron? When did he ever think himself more blessed than 
when he stood between the living and the dead, and by his presence stayed 
death from passing from the bodies of the dead to the lines of the living? 
What shall I say of the youth Daniel, who was so wise that, when in the 
midst of the lions enraged with hunger, he was by no means overcome with 
terror at the fierceness of the beasts. So free from fear was he, that he 
could eat, and was not afraid he might by his example excite the animals to 
feed on him. 

12. There is, then, in pain a virtue that can display the sweetness of a good 
conscience, and therefore it serves as a proof that pain does not lessen the 
pleasure of virtue. As, then, there is no loss of blessedness to virtue 
through pain, so also the pleasures of the body and the enjoyment that 
benefits give add nothing to it. On this the Apostle says well: "What 
things to me were gain, those I counted loss for Christ," and he added: 
"Wherefore I count all things but loss, and do count them but dung, that I 
may win Christ." 

13. Moses, too, thought the treasures of Egypt to be his loss, and thus 
showed forth in his life the reproach of the Cross of the Lord. He was not 
rich when he had abundance of money, nor was he afterwards poor when 
he was in want of food, unless, perchance, there is any one who thinks he 



149 

was less happy when daily food was wanting to him and his people in the 
wilderness. But yet manna, that is, angels' food, which surely none will 
dare deny to be a mark of the greatest good and of blessedness, was given 
him from heaven; also the daily shower of meat was sufficient to feed the 
whole multitude. 

14. Bread for food also failed Elijah, that holy man, had he sought for it; 
but it seemed not to fail him because he sought it not. Thus by the daily 
service of the ravens bread was brought to him in the morning, meat in the 
evening. Was he any the less blessed because he was poor to himself? 
Certainly not. Nay, he was the more blessed, for he was rich toward God. 
It is better to be rich for others than for oneself. He was so, for in the time 
of famine he asked a widow for food, intending to repay it, so that the 
barrel of meal failed not for three years and six months, and the oil jar 
sufficed and served the needy widow for her daily use all that time also. 
Rightly did Peter wish to be there where he saw them. Rightly did they 
appear in the mount with Christ in glory, for He Himself became poor 
when He was rich. 

15. Riches, then, give no assistance to living a blessed life, a fact that the 
Lord clearly shows in the Gospel, saying: "Blessed are ye poor, for yours 
is the kingdom of God. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst now, for 
they shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now, for ye shall laugh." 
Thus it is stated as plainly as possible that poverty, hunger, and pain, 
which are considered to be evils, not only are not hindrances to a blessed 
life, but are actually so many helps toward it. 



150 

CHAPTER 5 



Those things which are generally looked on as good are mostly 
hindrances to a blessed life, and those which are looked on as evil 
are the materials out of which virtues grow. What belongs to 
blessedness is shown by other examples. 

16. B ut those things which seem to be good, as riches, abundance, joy 
without pain, are a hindrance to the fruits of blessedness, as is clearly 
stated in the Lord's own words, when He said: "Woe to you rich, for ye 
have received your consolation! Woe unto you that are full, for ye shall 
hunger, and to those who laugh, for they shall mourn!" So, then, corporal 
or external good things are not only no assistance to attaining a blessed life, 
but are even a hindrance to it. 

17. Wherefore Naboth was blessed, even though he was stoned by the rich; 
weak and poor, as opposed to the royal resources, he was rich in his aim 
and his religion; so rich, indeed, that he would not exchange the inheritance 
of the vineyard received from his father for the king's money; and on this 
account was he perfect, for he defended the rights of his forefathers with 
his own blood. Thus, also, Ahab was wretched on his own showing, for he 
caused the poor man to be put to death, so as to take possession of his 
vineyard himself. 

18. It is quite certain that virtue is the only and the highest good; that it 
alone richly abounds in the fruit of a blessed life; that a blessed life, by 
means of which eternal life is won, does not depend on external or corporal 
benefits, but on virtue only. A blessed life is the fruit of the present, and 
eternal life is the hope of the future. 

19. Some, however, there are who think a blessed life is impossible in this 
body, weak and fragile as it is. For in it one must suffer pain and grief, one 
must weep, one must be ill. So I could also say that a blessed life rests on 
bodily rejoicing, but not on the heights of wisdom, on the sweetness of 
conscience, or on the loftiness of virtue. It is not a blessed thing to be in 
the midst of suffering; but it is blessed to be victorious over it, and not to 
be cowed by the power of temporal pain. 



151 

20. Suppose that things come which are accounted terrible as regards the 
grief they cause, such as blindness, exile, hunger, violation of a daughter, 
loss of children. Who will deny that Isaac was blessed, who did not see in 
his old age, and yet gave blessings with his benediction? Was not Jacob 
blessed who, leaving his father's house, endured exile as a shepherd for 
pay, and mourned for the violated chastity of his daughter, and suffered 
hunger? Were they not blessed on whose good faith God received witness, 
as it is written: "The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of 
Jacob"? A wretched thing is slavery, but Joseph was not wretched; nay, 
clearly he was blessed, when he whilst in slavery checked the lusts of his 
mistress. What shall I say of holy David who bewailed the death of three 
sons, and, what was even worse than this, his daughter's incestuous 
connection? How could he be unblessed from whom the Author of 
blessedness Himself sprung, Who has made many blessed? For: "Blessed 
are they who have not seen yet have believed." All these felt their own 
weakness, but they bravely prevailed over it. What can we think of as 
more wretched than holy Job, either in the burning of his house, or the 
instantaneous death of his ten sons, or his bodily pains? Was he less 
blessed than if he had not endured those things whereby he really showed 
himself approved? 

21. True it is that in these sufferings there is something bitter, and that 
strength of mind cannot hide this pain. I should not deny that the sea is 
deep because inshore it is shallow, nor that the sky is clear because 
sometimes it is covered with clouds, nor that the earth is fruitful because in 
some places there is but barren ground, nor that the crops are rich and full 
because they sometimes have wild oats mingled with them. So, too, count 
it as true that the harvest of a happy conscience may be mingled with 
some bitter feelings of grief. In the sheaves of the whole of a blessed life, if 
by chance any misfortune or bitterness has crept in, is it not as though the 
wild oats were hidden, or as though the bitterness of the tares was 
concealed by the sweet scent of the corn? But let us now proceed again 
with our subject. 



152 
CHAPTER 6 



On what is useful: not that which is advantageous, but that which is 
just and virtuous. It is to be found in losses, and is divided into what 
is useful for the body, and what is useful unto godliness. 

22. In the first book we made our division in such a way as to set in the 
first place what is virtuous and what is seemly; for all duties are derived 
from these. In the second place we set what is useful. But as at the start 
we said that there was a difference between what is virtuous and what is 
seemly — which one can comprehend more easily than one can explain — 
so also when we are thinking of what is useful, we have to give 
considerable thought to what is the more useful. 

23. But we do not reckon usefulness by the value of any gain in money, 
but in acquiring godliness, as the Apostle says: "But godliness is profitable 
unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is 
to come." Thus in the holy Scriptures, if we look carefully we shall often 
find that what is virtuous is called useful: "All things are lawful unto me, 
but all things are not profitable" [useful]. Before that he was speaking of 
vices, and so means: It is lawful to sin, but it is not seemly. Sins rest in 
one's own power, but they are not virtuous. To live wantonly is easy, but 
it is not right. For food serves not God but the belly. 

24. Therefore, because what is useful is also just, it is just to serve Christ, 
Who redeemed us. They too are just who for His Name's sake have given 
themselves up to death, they are unjust who have avoided it. Of them it 
says: What profit is there in my blood? that is: what advance has my 
justice made? Wherefore they also say: "Let us bind the just, for he is 
useless to us," that is: he is unjust, for he complains of us, condemns and 
rebukes us. This could also be referred to the greed of impious men, which 
closely resembles treachery; as we read in the case of the traitor Judas, 
who in his longing for gain and his desire for money put his head into the 
noose of treachery and fell. 

25. We have then to speak of that usefulness which is full of what is 
virtuous, as the Apostle himself has laid it down in so many words, 



153 

saying: "And this I speak for your own profit, not that I may cast a snare 
upon you, but for that which is comely." It is plain, then, that what is 
virtuous is useful, and what is useful is virtuous; also that what is useful is 
just, and what is just is useful. I can say this, for I am speaking, not to 
merchants who are covetous from a desire to make gain, but to my 
children. And I am speaking of the duties which I wish to impress upon 
and impart to you, whom I have chosen for the service of the Lord; so that 
those things which have been already implanted and fixed in your minds 
and characters by habit and training may now be further unfolded to you 
by explanation and instruction. 

26. Therefore as I am about to speak of what is useful, I will take up those 
words of the Prophet: "Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies and not to 
covetousness," that the sound of the word "useful" may not rouse in us 
the desire for money. Some indeed put it thus: "Incline my heart unto Thy 
testimonies and not to what is useful," that is, that kind of usefulness 
which is always on the watch for making gains in business, and has been 
bent and diverted by the habits of men to the pursuit of money. For as a 
rule most people call that only useful which is profitable, but we are 
speaking of that kind of usefulness which is sought in earthly loss "that 
we may gain Christ," whose gain is "godliness with contentment." Great, 
too, is the gain whereby we attain to godliness, which is rich with God, not 
indeed in fleeting wealth, but in eternal gifts, and in which rests no 
uncertain trial but grace constant and unending. 

27. There is therefore a usefulness connected with the body, and also one 
that has to do with godliness, according to the Apostle's division: "Bodily 
exercise profiteth a little, but godliness is profitable unto all things." And 
what is so virtuous as integrity? what so seemly as to preserve the body 
unspotted and undefiled, and its purity unsullied? What, again, is so 
seemly as that a widow should keep her plighted troth to her dead 
husband? What more useful than this whereby the heavenly kingdom is 
attained? For "there are some who have made themselves eunuchs for the 
kingdom of heaven's sake." 



154 
CHAPTER 7 



What is useful is the same as what is virtuous; nothing is more 
useful than love, which is gained by gentleness, courtesy, kindness, 
justice, and the other virtues, as we are given to understand from the 
histories of Moses and David. Lastly, confidence springs from love, 
and again love from confidence. 

2 8 . T here is therefore not only a close intercourse between what is 
virtuous and what is useful, but the same thing is both useful and virtuous. 
Therefore He Who willed to open the kingdom of heaven to all sought not 
what was useful to Himself, but what was useful for all. Thus we must 
have a certain order and proceed step by step from habitual or common 
acts to those which are more excellent, so as to show by many examples 
the advancement of what is useful. 

29. And first we may know there is nothing so useful as to be loved, 
nothing so useless as not to be loved; for to be hated in my opinion is 
simply fatal and altogether deadly. We speak of this, then, in order that we 
may take care to give cause for a good estimate and opinion to be formed 
of us, and may try to get a place in others' affections through our calmness 
of mind and kindness of soul. For goodness is agreeable and pleasing to all, 
and there is nothing that so easily reaches human feelings. And if that is 
assisted by gentleness of character and willingness, as well as by 
moderation in giving orders and courtesy of speech, by honor in word, by 
a ready interchange of conversation and by the grace of modesty, it is 
incredible how much all this tends to an increase of love. 

30. We read, not only in the case of private individuals but even of kings, 
what is the effect of ready and willing courtesy, and what harm pride and 
great swelling words have done, so far as to make even kingdoms to totter 
and powers to be destroyed. If any one gains the people's favor by advice 
or service, by fulfilling the duties of his ministry or office, or if he 
encounters danger for the sake of the whole nation, there is no doubt but 
that such love will be shown him by the people that they all will put his 
safety and welfare before their own. 



155 

31. What reproaches Moses had to bear from his people! But when the 
Lord would have avenged him on those who reviled him, he often used to 
offer himself for the people that he might save them from the divine anger. 
With what gentle words used he to address the people, even after he was 
wronged I He comforted them in their labors, consoled them by his 
prophetic declarations of the future, and encouraged them by his works. 
And though he often spoke with God, yet he was wont to address men 
gently and pleasantly. Worthily was he considered to stand above all men. 
For they could not even look on his face, and refused to believe that his 
sepulcher was found. He had captivated the minds of all the people to 
such an extent; that they loved him even more for his gentleness than they 
admired him for his deeds. 

32. There is David too who followed his steps, who was chosen from 
among all to rule the people. How gentle and kindly he was, humble in 
spirit too, how diligent and ready to show affection. Before he came to the 
throne he offered himself in the stead of all. As king he showed himself an 
equal to all in warfare, and shared in their labors. He was brave in battle, 
gentle in ruling, patient under abuse, and more ready to bear than to return 
wrongs. So dear was he to all, that though a youth, he was chosen even 
against his will to rule over them, and was made to undertake the duty 
though he withstood it. When old he was asked by his people not to 
engage in battle, because they all preferred to incur danger for his sake 
rather than that he should undergo it for theirs. 

33. He had bound the people to himself freely in doing his duty; first, 
when he during the division among the people preferred to live like an exile 
at Hebron rather than to reign at Jerusalem; next, when he showed that he 
loved valor even in an enemy. He had also thought that justice should be 
shown to those who had borne arms against himself the same as to his own 
men. Again, he admired Abner, the bravest champion of the opposing side, 
whilst he was their leader and was yet waging war. Nor did he despise him 
when suing for peace, but honored him by a banquet. When killed by 
treachery, he mourned and wept for him. He followed him and honored his 
obsequies, and evinced his good faith in desiring vengeance for the murder; 
for he handed on that duty to his son in the charge that he gave him, being 
anxious rather that the death of an innocent man should not be left 
unavenged, than that any one should mourn for his own. 



156 

34. It is no small thing, especially in the case of a king, so to perform 
humble duties as to make oneself like the very lowest. It is noble not to 
seek for food at another's risk and to refuse a drink of water, to countless a 
sin, and to offer oneself to death for one's people. This latter David did, so 
that the divine anger might be turned against himself, when he offered 
himself to the destroying angel and said: "Lo I have sinned: I the shepherd 
have done wickedly, but this flock, what hath it done? Let Thy hand be 
against me." 

35. What further should I say? He opened not his mouth to those planning 
deceit, and, as though hearing not, he thought no word should be returned, 
nor did be answer their reproaches. When he was evil spoken of, he 
prayed, when he was cursed, he blessed. He walked in simplicity of heart, 
and fled from the proud. He was a follower of those unspotted from the 
world, one who mixed ashes with his food when bewailing his sins, and 
mingled his drink with weeping. Worthily, then, was he called for by all 
the people. All the tribes of Israel came to him saying: "Behold, we are thy 
bone and thy flesh. Also yesterday and the day before when Saul lived, 
and reigned, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel. And the 
Lord said to thee, Thou shalt feed My people!' And why should I say 
more about him of whom the word of the Lord has gone forth to say: "I 
have found David according to My heart"? Who ever walked in holiness of 
heart and injustice as he did, so as to fulfill the will of God; for whose 
sake pardon was granted to his children when they sinned, and their rights 
were preserved to his heirs? 

36. Who would not have loved him, when they saw how dear he was to his 
friends? For as he truly loved his friends, so he thought that he was loved 
as much in return by his own friends. Nay, parents put him even before 
their own children, and children loved him more than their parents. 
Wherefore Saul was very angry and strove to strike Jonathan his son with 
a spear because he thought that David's friendship held a higher place in 
his esteem than either filial piety or a father's authority. 

37. It gives a very great impetus to mutual love if one shows love in return 
to those who love us and proves that one does not love them less than 
oneself is loved, especially if one shows it by the proofs that a faithful 
friendship gives. What is so likely to win favor as gratitude? What more 



157 

natural than to love one who loves us? What so implanted and so 
impressed on men's feelings as the wish to let another, by whom we want 
to be loved, know that we love him? Well does the wise man say: "Lose 
thy money for thy brother and thy friend." And again: "I will not be 
ashamed to defend a friend, neither will I hide myself from him." If, indeed, 
the words in Ecclesiasticus testify that the medicine of life and immortality 
is in a friend; yet none has ever doubted that it is in love that our best 
defense lies. As the Apostle says: "It beareth all things, believeth all 
things, hopeth all things, endureth all things; love never faileth." 

38. Thus David failed not, for he was dear to all, and wished to be loved 
rather than feared by his subjects. Fear keeps the watch of temporal 
protection, but knows not how to keep guard permanently. And so where 
fear has departed, boldness often creeps in; for fear does not force 
confidence but affection calls it forth. 

39. Love, then, is the first thing to give us a recommendation. It is a good 
thing therefore to have our witness in the love of many. Then arises 
confidence, so that even strangers are not afraid to trust themselves to thy 
kindness, when they see thee so dear to many. So likewise one goes 
through confidence to love, so that he who has shown good faith to one or 
two has an influence as it were on the minds of all, and wins the good- will 
of all. 



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Nothing has greater effect in gaining good-will than giving advice; 
but none can trust it unless it rests on justice and prudence. How 
conspicuous these two virtues were in Solomon is shown by his 
well-known judgment. 

40 . T wo things, therefore, love and confidence, are the most efficacious in 
commending us to others; also this third quality if thou hast it, namely, 
what many consider to be worthy of admiration in thee, and think to be 
rightly worthy of honor [the power, in fact, of giving good advice] . 

41. Since the giving of good advice is a great means of gaining men's 
affections, prudence and justice are much needed in every case. These are 
looked for by most, so that confidence at once is placed in him in whom 
they exist, because he can give useful and trustworthy advice to whoever 
wants it. Who will put himself into the hands of a man whom he does not 
think to be more wise than himself who asks for advice? It is necessary 
therefore that he of whom advice is asked should be superior to him who 
asks it. For why should we consult a man when we do not think that he 
can make anything more plain than we ourselves see it? 

42. But if we have found a man that by the vigor of his character, by his 
strength of mind and influence, stands forth above all others, and further, is 
better fitted by example and experience than others; that can put an end to 
immediate dangers, foresee future ones, point out those close at hand, can 
explain a subject, bring relief in time, is ready not only to give advice but 
also to give help, — in such a man confidence is placed, so that he who 
seeks advice can say: "Though evil should happen to me through him, I 
will bear it." 

43. To a man of this sort then we entrust our safety and our reputation, 
for he is, as we said before, just and prudent. Justice causes us to have no 
fear of deceit, and prudence frees us from having any suspicions of error. 
However, we trust ourselves more readily to a just than to a prudent man, 
to put it in the way people generally do. But, according to the definition of 
the philosophers, where there is one virtue, others exist too, whilst 



159 

prudence cannot exist without justice. We find this stated also in our 
writers, for David says: "The just showeth mercy and lendeth." What the 
just lends, he says elsewhere: "A good man is he that showeth mercy and 
lendeth, he will guide his words with discretion. " 

44. Is not that noble judgment of Solomon full of wisdom and justice? Let 
us see whether it is so. "Two women," it says, "stood before King 
Solomon, and the one said to him, Hear me, my Lord, I and this woman 
dwell in one house, and before the third day we gave birth and bore a son 
apiece, and were together, there was no witness in the house, nor any other 
woman with us, only we two alone. And her son died this night, because 
she overlaid it, and she arose at midnight, and took my son from my 
breast, and laid it in her bosom, and her dead child she laid at my breast, 
And I arose in the morning to give my child suck, and found him dead. And 
I considered it at dawn, and behold it was not my son. And the other 
woman said, Nay, but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son." 

45. This was their dispute, in which either tried to claim the living child for 
herself, and denied that the dead one was hers. Then the king commanded a 
sword to be brought and the infant to be cut in half, and either piece to be 
given to one, one half to the one, and one half to the other. Then the 
woman whose the child really was, moved by her feelings, cried out: 
"Divide not the child, my Lord; let it rather be given to her and live, and do 
not kill it." But the other answered: "Let it be neither mine nor hers, divide 
it." Then the king ordered that the infant should be given to the woman 
who had said: Do not kill it, but give it to that woman; "For," as it says, 
"her bowels yearned upon her son." 

46. It is not wrong to suppose that the mind of God was in him; for what 
is hidden from God? What can be more hidden than the witness that lies 
deep within; into which the mind of the wise king entered as though to 
judge a mother's feelings, and elicited as it were the voice of a mother's 
heart. For a mother's feelings were laid bare, when she chose that her son 
should live with another, rather than that he should be killed in his 
mother' s sight. 

47. It was therefore a sign of wisdom to distinguish between secret 
heart-thoughts, to draw the truth from hidden springs, and to pierce as it 



160 

were with the sword of the Spirit not only the inward parts of the body, 
but even of the mind and soul. It was the part of justice also that she who 
had killed her own child should not take away another' s, but that the real 
mother should have her own back again. Indeed the Scriptures have 
declared this. "All Israel," it says, "heard of the judgment which the king 
had judged, and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God 
was in him to do judgment." Solomon also himself had asked for wisdom, 
so that a prudent heart might be given him to hear and to judge with 
justice. 



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Though justice and prudence are inseparable, we must have respect 
to the ideas of people in general, for they make a distinction between 
the different cardinal virtues. 

48. It is clear also, according to the sacred Scriptures, which are the older, 
that wisdom cannot exist without justice, for where one of these two is, 
there the other must be also. With what wisdom did Daniel expose the lie 
in the false accusation brought against him by his thorough examination, so 
that those false informers had no answer ready to hand! It was a mark of 
prudence to convict the criminals by the witness of their own words, and a 
sign of justice to give over the guilty to punishment, and to save the 
innocent from it. 

49. There is therefore an inseparable union between wisdom and justice; 
but, generally speaking, the one special form of virtue is divided up. Thus 
temperance lies in despising pleasures, fortitude may be seen in undergoing 
labors and dangers, prudence in the choice of what is good, by knowing 
how to distinguish between things useful and the reverse; justice, in being a 
good guardian of another's rights and protector of its own, thus 
maintaining for each his own. We can make this fourfold division in 
deference to commonly received ideas; and so, whilst deviating from those 
subtle discussions of philosophic learning which are brought forth as 
though from some inner recess for the sake of investigating the truth, can 
follow the commonly received use and their ordinary meaning. Keeping, 
then, to this division, let us return to our subject. 



162 
CHAPTER 10 



Men entrust their safety rather to a just than to a prudent man. But 
every one is wont to seek out the man who combines in himself the 
qualities of justice and prudence. Solomon gives us an example of 
this. (The words which the queen of Sheba spoke of him are 
explained.) Also Daniel and Joseph. 

5 . W e entrust our case to the most prudent man we can find, and ask 
advice from him more readily than we do from others. However, the 
faithful counsel of a just man stands first and often has more weight than 
the great abilities of the wisest of men: "For better are the wounds of a 
friend than the kisses of others." And just because it is the judgment of a 
just man, it is also the conclusion of a wise one: in the one lies the result of 
the matter in dispute, in the other readiness of invention. 

51. And if one connects the two, there will be great soundness in the 
advice given, which is regarded by all with admiration for the wisdom 
shown, and with love for its justice. And so all will desire to hear the 
wisdom of that man in whom those two virtues are found together, as all 
the kings of the earth desired to see the face of Solomon and to hear his 
wisdom. Nay, even the queen of Sheba came to him and tried him with 
questions. She came and spoke of all the things that were in her heart, and 
heard all the wisdom of Solomon, nor did any word escape her. 

52. Who she was whom nothing escaped, and that there was nothing which 
the truth-loving Solomon did not tell her, learn, O man, from this which 
thou hearest her saying: "It was a true report that I heard in mine own land 
of thy words and of thy prudence, yet I did not believe those that told it 
me until I came, and mine eyes had seen it; and behold the half was not 
told me. Thou hast added good things over and above all that I heard in 
mine own land. Blessed are thy women and blessed thy servants, which 
stand before thee, and that hear all thy prudence." Recognize the feast of 
the true Solomon, and who are set down at that feast; recognize it wisely 
and think in what land all the nations shall hear the fame of true wisdom 
and justice, and with what eyes they shall see Him, beholding those things 



163 

which are not seen. "For the things that are seen are temporal, but the 
things which are not seen are eternal." 

53. What women are blessed but those of whom it is said "that many hear 
the word of God and bring forth fruit"? And again: "Whosoever doeth the 
word of God is My father and sister and mother." And who are those 
blessed servants, who stand before Him, but Paul, who said: "Even to this 
day I stand witnessing both to great and small;" or Simeon, who was 
waiting in the temple to see the consolation of Israel? How could he have 
asked to be let depart, except that in standing before the Lord he had not 
the power of departing, but only according to the will of God? Solomon is 
put before us simply for the sake of example, of whom it was eagerly 
expected that his wisdom should be heard. 

54. Joseph also when in prison was not free from being consulted about 
matters of uncertainty. His counsel was of advantage to the whole of 
Egypt, so that it felt not the seven years' famine, and he was able even to 
relieve other peoples from their dreadful hunger. 

55. Daniel, though one of the captives, was made the head of the royal 
counselors. By his counsels he improved the present and foretold the 
future. Confidence was put in him in all things, because he had frequently 
interpreted things, and had shown that he had declared the truth. 



164 
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A third element which tends to gain any one's confidence is shown to 
have been conspicuous in Moses, Daniel, and Joseph. 

56. B ut a third point seems also to have been noted in the case of those 
who were thought worthy of admiration after the example of Joseph, 
Solomon, and Daniel. For what shall I say of Moses whose advice all Israel 
always waited for, whose life caused them to trust in his prudence and 
increased their esteem for him? Who would not trust to the counsel of 
Moses, to whom the elders reserved for decision whatever they thought 
beyond their understanding and powers? 

57. Who would refuse the counsel of Daniel, of whom God Himself said: 
"Who is wiser than Daniel?" How can men doubt about the minds of those 
to whom God has given such grace? By the counsel of Moses wars were 
brought to an end, and for his merit's sake food came from heaven and 
drink from the rock. 

58. How pure must have been the soul of Daniel to soften the character of 
barbarians and to tame the lions! What temperance was his, what 
self-restraint in soul and body! Not unworthily did he become an object of 
admiration to all, when — and all men do admire this, — though enjoying 
royal friendships, he sought not for gold, nor counted the honor given him 
as more precious than his faith. For he was willing to endure danger for the 
law of God rather than to be turned from his purpose in order to gain the 
favor of men. 

59. And what, again, shall I say of the chastity and justice of Joseph, 
whom I had almost passed by, whereby on the one hand he rejected the 
allurements of his mistress and refused rewards, on the other he mocked at 
death, repressed his fear, and chose a prison? Who would not consider him 
a fit person to give advice in a private case, whose fruitful spirit and fertile 
mind enriched the barrenness of the time with the wealth of his counsels 
and heart? 



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No one asks counsel from a man tainted with vice, or from one who 
is morose or impracticable, but rather from one of whom we have a 
pattern in the Scriptures, 

60 . W E note therefore that in seeking for counsel, uprightness of life, 
excellence in virtues, habits of benevolence, and the charm of good-nature 
have very great weight. Who seeks for a spring in the mud? Who wants to 
drink from muddy water? So where there is luxurious living, excess, and a 
union of vices, who will think that he ought to draw from that source? 
Who does not despise a foul life? Who will think a man to be useful to 
another's cause whom he sees to be useless in his own life? Who, again, 
does not avoid a wicked, ill-disposed, abusive person, who is always ready 
to do harm? Who would not be only too eager to avoid him? 

61. And who will come to a man however well fitted to give the best of 
advice who is nevertheless hard to approach? It goes with him as with a 
fountain whose waters are shut off. What is the advantage of having 
wisdom, if one refuses to give advice? If one cuts off the opportunities of 
giving advice, the source is closed, so as no longer to flow for others or to 
be of any good to oneself. 

62. Well can we refer this to him who, possessing prudence, has defiled it 
with the foulness of a vicious life and so pollutes the water at the source. 
His life is a proof of a degenerate spirit. How can one judge him to be good 
in counsel whom one sees to be evil in character? He ought to be superior 
to me, if I am ready to trust myself to him. Am I to suppose that he is fit 
to give me advice who never takes it for himself, or am I to believe that he 
has time to give to me when he has none for himself, when his mind is 
filled with pleasures, and he is overcome by lust, is the slave of avarice, is 
excited by greed, and is terrified with fright? How is there room for counsel 
here where there is none for quiet? 

63. That man of counsel whom I must admire and look up to, whom the 
gracious Lord gave to our fathers, put aside all that was offensive. His 



166 

follower he ought to be, who can give counsel and protect another' s 
prudence from vice; for nothing foul can mingle with that. 



167 
CHAPTER 13 



The beauty of wisdom is made plain by the divine testimony. From 
this he goes on to prove its connection with the other virtues. 

64.1s there any one who would like to be beautiful in face and at the same 
time to have its charm spoilt by a beast-like body and fearful talons? Now 
the form of virtues is so wonderful and glorious, and especially the beauty 
of wisdom, as the whole of the Scriptures tell us. For it is more brilliant 
than the sun, and when compared with the stars far outshines any 
constellation. Night takes their light away in its train, but wickedness 
cannot overcome wisdom. 

65. We have spoken of its beauty, and proved it by the witness of 
Scripture. It remains to show on the authority of Scripture that there can 
be no fellowship between it and vice, but that it has an inseparable union 
with the rest of the virtues. "It has a spirit sagacious, undefiled, sure, holy, 
loving what is good, quick, that never forbids a kindness, kind, steadfast, 
free from care, having all power, overseeing all things." And again: "She 
teacheth temperance and justice and virtue." 



168 
CHAPTER 14 



Prudence is combined with all the virtues, especially with contempt 
of riches. 

66. Prudence, therefore, works through all things, she has fellowship 
with all that is good. For how can she give good advice unless she have 
justice too, so that she may clothe herself in consistency, not fear death, be 
held back by no alarm, no fear, nor think it right to be turned aside from 
the truth by any flattery, nor shun exile, knowing that the world is the 
fatherland of the wise man. She fears not want, for she knows that nothing 
is wanting to the wise man, since the whole world of riches is his. What is 
greater than the man that knows not how to be excited at the thought of 
money, and has a contempt for riches, and looks down as from some lofty 
vantage-ground on the desires of men? Men think that one who acts thus is 
more than man: "Who is this," it says, "and we will praise him. For 
wonderful things hath he done in his life." Surely he ought to be admired 
who despises riches, seeing that most place them even before their own 
safety. 

67. The rule of economy and the authority of self-restraint befits all, and 
most of all him who stands highest in honor; so that no love for his 
treasures may seize upon such a man, and that he who rules over free men 
may never become a slave to money. It is more seemly that in soul he 
should be superior to treasures, and in willing service be subject to his 
friends. For humility increases the regard in which one is held. It is 
praiseworthy and right for the chief of men to have no desire for filthy 
lucre in common with Syrian traders and Gilead merchants, nor to place all 
their hope of good in money, or to count up their daily gains and to 
calculate their savings like a hireling. 



169 
CHAPTER 15 



Of liberality. To whom it must chiefly be shown, and how men of 
slender means may show it by giving their service and counsel. 

68. B ut if it is praiseworthy to have one' s soul free from this failing, how 
much more glorious is it to gain the love of the people by liberality which 
is neither too freely shown to those who are unsuitable, nor too sparingly 
bestowed upon the needy. 

69. There are many kinds of liberality. Not only can we distribute and give 
away food to those who need it from our own daily supply, so that they 
may sustain life; but we can also give advice and help to those who are 
ashamed to show their want openly, so long as the common supplies of 
the needy are not exhausted. I am now speaking of one set over some 
office. If he is a priest or almoner, let him inform the bishop of them, and 
not withhold the name of any he knows to be in any need, or to have lost 
their wealth and to be now reduced to want; especially if they have not 
fallen into this trouble owing to wastefulness in youth, but because of 
another's theft, or through loss of their inheritance from no fault of their 
own, so that they cannot now earn their daily bread. 

70. The highest kind of liberality is, to redeem captives, to save them from 
the hands of their enemies, to snatch men from death, and, most of all, 
women from shame, to restore children to their parents, parents to their 
children, and, to give back a citizen to his country. This was recognized 
when Thrace and Illyria were so terribly devastated. How many captives 
were then for sale all over the world! Could one but call them together, 
their number would have surpassed that of a whole province. Yet there 
were some who would have sent back into slavery those whom the Church 
had redeemed. They themselves were harder than slavery itself to look 
askance at another's mercy. If they themselves (they said) had come to 
slavery, they would be slaves freely. If they had been sold, they would not 
refuse the service of slavery. They wished to undo the freedom of others, 
though they could not undo their own slavery, unless perchance it should 



170 

please the buyer to receive his price again, whereby, however, slavery 
would not be simply undone but redeemed. 

71. It is then a special quality of liberality to redeem captives, especially 
from barbarian enemies who are moved by no spark of human feeling to 
show mercy, except so far as avarice has preserved it with a view to 
redemption. It is also a great thing to take upon oneself another's debt, if 
the debtor cannot pay and is hard pressed to do so, and where the money 
is due by right and is only left unpaid through want. So, too, it is a sign of 
great liberality to bring up children, and to take care of orphans. 

72. There are others who place in marriage maidens that have lost their 
parents, so as to preserve their chastity, and who help them not only with 
good wishes but also by a sum of money. There is also another kind of 
liberality which the Apostle teaches: "If any that believeth hath widows 
let him relieve them, that the Church be not burdened by supplying them, 
that it may have enough for those that are widows indeed." 

73. Useful, then, is liberality of this sort; but it is not common to all. For 
there are many good men who have but slender means, and are content 
with little for their own use, and are not able to give help to lighten the 
poverty of others. However, another sort of kindness is ready to their 
hand, whereby they can help those poorer still. For there is a twofold 
liberality: one that gives actual assistance, that is, in money; the other, 
which is busy in offering active help, is often much grander and nobler. 

74. How much grander it was for Abraham to have recovered his captured 
son-in-law by his victorious arms, than if he had ransomed him! How 
much more usefully did holy Joseph help King Pharaoh by his counsel to 
provide for the future, than if he had offered him money! For money 
would not have bought back the fruitfulness of any one state; whilst he by 
his foresight kept the famine for five years from the whole of Egypt. 

75. Money is easily spent; counsels can never be exhausted. They only 
grow the stronger by constant use. Money grows less and quickly comes 
to an end, and has failed even kindness itself; so that the more there are to 
whom one wants to give, the fewer one can help; and often one has not got 
what one thinks ought to be given to others. But as regards the offer of 
advice and active help, the more there are to spend it on, the more there 



171 

seems to be, and the more it returns to its own source. The rich stream of 
prudence ever flows back upon itself, and the more it has reached out to, 
so much the more active becomes all that remains. 



172 

CHAPTER 16 



Due measure must be observed in liberality, that it may not be 
expended on worthless persons, when it is needed by worthier ones. 
However, alms are not to be given in too sparing and hesitating a 
way. One ought rather to follow the example of the blessed Joseph, 
whose prudence is commended at great length. 

76. It is clear, then, that there ought to be due measure in our liberality, 
that our gifts may not become useless. Moderation must be observed, 
especially by priests, for fear that they should give away for the sake of 
ostentation, and not for justice' sake. Never was the greed of beggars 
greater than it is now. They come in full vigor, they come with no reason 
but that they are on the tramp. They want to empty the purses of the 
poor — to deprive them of their means of support. Not content with a 
little, they ask for more. In the clothes that cover them they seek a ground 
to urge their demands, and with lies about their lives they ask for further 
sums of money. If any one were to trust their tale too readily, he would 
quickly drain the fund which is meant to serve for the sustenance of the 
poor. Let there be method in our giving, so that the poor may not go away 
empty nor the subsistence of the needy be done away and become the 
spoil of the dishonest. Let there be then such due measure that kindness 
may never be put aside, and true need never be left neglected. 

77. Many pretend they have debts. Let the truth be looked into. They 
bemoan the fact that they have been stripped of everything by robbers. In 
such a case give credit only if the misfortune is apparent, or the person is 
well known; and then readily give help. To those rejected by the Church 
supplies must be granted if they are in want of food. He, then, that 
observes method in his giving is hard towards none, but is free towards all, 
We ought not only to lend our ears to hear the voices of those who plead, 
but also our eyes to look into their needs. Weakness calls more loudly to 
the good dispenser than the voice of the poor. It cannot always be that the 
cries of an importunate beggar will never extort more, but let us not always 
give way to impudence. He must be seen who does not see thee. He must 
be sought for who is ashamed to be seen. He also that is in prison must 



173 

come to thy thoughts; another seized with sickness must present himself 
to thy mind, as he cannot reach thy ears. 

78. The more people see thy zeal in showing mercy, the more will they 
love thee, I know many priests who had the more, the more they gave, For 
they who see a good dispenser give him something to distribute in his 
round of duty, sure that the act of mercy will reach the poor. If they see 
him giving away either in excess or too sparingly, they contemn either of 
these; in the one case because he wastes the fruits of another's labors by 
unnecessary payments, on the other hand because he hoards them in his 
money bags. As, then, method must be observed in liberality, so also at 
times it seems as though the spur must be applied. Method, then, so that 
the kindness one shows may be able to be shown day by day, and that we 
may not have to withdraw from a needful case what we have freely spent 
on waste. A spur, because money is better laid out in food for the poor 
than on a purse for the rich. We must take care test in our money chests 
we shut up the welfare of the needy, and bury the life of the poor as it 
were in a sepulcher. 

79. Joseph could have given away all the wealth of Egypt, and have spent 
the royal treasures; but he would not even seem to be wasteful of what 
was another's. He preferred to sell the corn rather than to give it to the 
hungry. For if he had given it to a few there would have been none for 
most. He gave good proof of that liberality whereby there was enough for 
all. He opened the storehouses that all might buy their corn supply, lest if 
they received it for nothing, they should give up cultivating the ground. 
For he who has the use of what is another's often neglects his own. 

80. First of all, then, he gathered up their money, then their implements, 
last of all he acquired for the king all their rights to the ground. He did not 
wish to deprive all of them of their property, but to support them in it. He 
also imposed a general tax, that they might hold their own in safety. So 
pleasing was this to all from whom he had taken the land, that they looked 
on it, not as the selling of their rights, but as the recovery of their welfare. 
Thus they spoke: "Thou hast saved our lives, let us find grace in the sight 
of our Lord." For they had lost nothing of their own, but had received a 
new right. Nothing of what was useful to them had failed, for they had 
now gained it in perpetuity. 



174 

81.0 noble man! who sought not for the fleeting glory of a needless 
bounty, but set up as his memorial the lasting benefits of his foresight. He 
acted so that the people should help themselves by their payments, and 
should not in their time of need seek help from others. For it was surely 
better to give up part of their crops than to lose the whole of their rights. 
He fixed the impost at a fifth of their whole produce, and thus showed 
himself clear-sighted in making provision for the future, and liberal in the 
tax he laid upon them. Never after did Egypt suffer from such a famine. 

82. How splendidly he inferred the future. First, how acutely, when 
interpreting the royal dream, he stated the truth. This was the king's first 
dream. Seven heifers came up out of the river well-favored and fat-fleshed, 
and they fed at the banks of the river. And other bullocks ill-favored and 
lean-fleshed came up out of the river after the heifers, and fed near them on 
the very edge of the river. And these thin and wretched bullocks seemed to 
devour those others which were so fat and well-favored. And this was the 
second dream. Seven fat ears full and good came up from the ground. And 
after them seven wretched ears, blasted with the wind and withered, 
endeavored to take their place. And it seemed that the barren and thin ears 
devoured the rich and fruitful ears. 

83. This dream Joseph unfolded as follows: that the seven heifers were 
seven years, and the seven ears likewise were seven years, — interpreting 
the times by the produce of cattle and crops. For both the calving of a 
heifer takes a year, and the produce of a crop fills out a whole year. And 
they came up out of the river just as days, years, and times pass by and 
flow along swiftly like the rivers. He therefore states that the seven earlier 
years of a rich land will be fertile and fruitful but the latter seven years will 
be barren and unfruitful, whose barrenness will eat up the richness of the 
former time. Wherefore he warns them to see that supplies of corn are got 
together in the fruitful years that they may help out the needs of the 
coming scarcity. 

84. What shall we admire first? His powers of mind, with which he 
descended to the very resting-place of truth? Or his counsel, whereby he 
foresaw so great and lasting a need? Or his watchfulness or justice? By his 
watchfulness, when so high an office was given him, he gathered together 
such vast supplies; and through his justice he treated all alike. And what 



175 

am I to say of his greatness of mind? For though sold by his brothers into 
slavery, he took no revenge for this wrong, but put an end to their want. 
What of his gentleness, whereby by a pious fraud he sought to gain the 
presence of his beloved brother whom, under pretense of a well-planned 
theft, he declared to have stolen his property, that he might hold him as a 
hostage of his love? 

85. Whence it was deservedly said to him by his father: "My son Joseph 
is enlarged, my son is enlarged, my younger son, my beloved. My God 
hath helped thee and blessed thee with the blessing of heaven above and 
the blessing of the earth, the earth that hath all things, on account of the 
blessings of thy father and thy mother. It hath prevailed over the blessings 
of the everlasting hills and the desires of the eternal hills." And in 
Deuteronomy: "Thou Who wast seen in the bush, that Thou mayest come 
upon the head of Joseph, upon his pate. Honored among his brethren, his 
glory is as the firstling of his bullocks; his horns are like the horns of 
unicorns. With his horn he shall push the nations even to the ends of the 
earth. They are the ten thousands of Ephraim and the thousands of 
Manasseh." 



176 

CHAPTER 17 

What virtues ought to exist in him whom we consult. How Joseph 
and Paul were equipped with them. 

86. Such, then, ought he to be who gives counsel to another, in order that 
he may offer himself as a pattern in all good works, in teaching, in trueness 
of character, in seriousness. Thus his words will be wholesome and 
irreproachable, his counsel useful, his life virtuous, and his opinions 
seemly. 

87. Such was Paul, who gave counsel to virgins, guidance to priests, so as 
to offer himself as a pattern for us to copy. Thus he knew how to be 
humble, as also Joseph did, who, though sprung from the noble family of 
the patriarchs, was not ashamed of his base slavery; rather he adorned it 
with his ready service, and made it glorious by his virtues. He knew how 
to be humble who had to go through the hands of both buyer and seller, 
and called them, Lord. Hear him as he humbles himself: "My Lord on my 
account knoweth not what is in his house, and he hath committed all that 
he hath to my hand, neither hath he kept back anything from me but thee, 
because thou art his wife; how, then, can I do this great wickedness, and 
sin against God?" Full of humility are his words, full, too, of chastity. Of 
humility, for he was obedient to his Lord; of an honorable spirit, for he 
was grateful; full, also, of chastity, for he thought it a terrible sin to be 
defiled by so great a crime. 

88. Such, then, ought the man of counsel to be. He must have nothing dark, 
or deceptive, or false about him, to cast a shadow on his life and character, 
nothing wicked or evil to keep back those who want advice. For there are 
some things which one flies from, others which one despises. We fly.from 
those things which can do harm, or can perfidiously and quietly grow to do 
us hurt, as when he whose advice we ask is of doubtful honor, or is 
desirous of money, so that a certain sum can make him change his mind. If 
a man acts unjustly, we fly from him and avoid him. A man that is a 
pleasure seeker and extravagant, although he does not act falsely, yet is 
avaricious and too fond of filthy lucre; such an one is despised. What 



177 

proof of hard work, what fruits of labor, can he give who gives himself up 
to a sluggish and idle life, or what cares and anxieties ever enter his mind? 

89. Therefore the man of good counsel says: "I have learnt in whatsoever 
state I am therewith to be content." For he knew that the root of all evils is 
the love of money, and therefore he was content with what he had, 
without seeking for what was another's. Sufficient for me, he says, is what 
I have; whether I have little or much, to me it is much. It seems as though 
he wanted to state it as clearly as possible. He makes use of these words: 
"I am content," he says, "with what I have." That means: "I neither have 
want, nor have I too much. I have no want, for I seek nothing more. I have 
not too much, for I have it not for myself, but for the many." This is said 
with reference to money. 

90. But he could have said these words about everything, for all that he 
had at the moment contented him; that is, he wanted no greater honor, he 
sought for no further services, he was not desirous of vainglory, nor did he 
look for gratitude where it was not due; but patient in labors, sure in his 
merits, he waited for the end of the struggle that he must needs endure. "I 
know," he says, "how to be abused." An untaught humility has no claim to 
praise, but only that which possesses modesty and a knowledge of self. 
For there is a humility that rests on fear, one, too, that rests on want of 
skill and ignorance. Therefore the Scripture says: "He will save the humble 
in spirit." Gloriously, therefore, does he say: "I know how to be abased;" 
that is to say, where, in what moderation, to what end, in what duty, in 
which office. The Pharisee knew not how to be abased, therefore he was 
cast down. The publican knew, and therefore he was justified. 

91. Paul knew, too, how to abound, for he had a rich soul, though he 
possessed not the treasure of a rich man. He knew how to abound, for he 
sought no gift in money, but looked for fruit in grace. We can understand 
his words that he knew how to abound also in another way. For he could 
say again: "O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is 
enlarged." 

92. In all things he was accustomed both to be full and to be hungry. 
Blessed is he that knows how to be full in Christ. Not corporal, but 
spiritual, is that satiety which knowledge brings about. And rightly is there 



178 

need of knowledge: "For man lives not by bread alone, but by every word 
of God." For he who knew how to be full also knew how to be hungry, so 
as to be always seeking something new, hungering after God, thirsting for 
the Lord. He knew how to hunger, for he knew that the hungry shall eat. 
He knew, also, how to abound, and was able to abound, for he had nothing 
and yet possessed all things. 



179 
CHAPTER 18 



We learn from the fact of the separation of the ten tribes from King 
Rehoboam what harm bad counselors can do. 

9 3 . Justice, then, especially graces men that are set over any office; on the 
other hand, injustice fails them and fights against them. Scripture itself 
gives us an example, where it says, that when the people of Israel, after the 
death of Solomon, had asked his son Rehoboam to free their neck from 
their cruel yoke, and to lighten the harshness of his father's rule, he, 
despising the counsel of the old men, gave the following answer at the 
suggestion of the young men: "He would add a burden to the yoke of his 
father, and change their lighter toils for harder." 

94. Angered by this answer, the people said: "We have no portion in 
David, nor inheritance in the son of Jesse. Return to your tents, O Israel. 
For we will not have this man for a prince or a leader over us." So, 
forsaken and deserted by the people, he could keep with him scarce two of 
the ten tribes for David's sake. 



180 

CHAPTER 19 



Many are won by justice and benevolence and courtesy, but all this 
must be sincere. 

95. It is plain, then, that equity strengthens empires, and injustice destroys 
them. How could wickedness hold fast a kingdom when it cannot even rule 
over a single family? There is need, therefore, of the greatest kindness, so 
that we may preserve not only the government of affairs in general, but 
also the rights of individuals. Benevolence is of the greatest value; for it 
seeks to embrace all in its favors, to bind them to itself by fulfilling duties, 
and to pledge them to itself by its charm. 

96. We have also said that courtesy of speech has great effect in winning 
favor. But we want it to be sincere and sensible, without flattery, lest 
flattery should disgrace the simplicity and purity of our address. We ought 
to be a pattern to others not only in act but also in word, in purity, and in 
faith. What we wish to be thought, such let us be; and let us show openly 
such feelings as we have within us. Let us not say an unjust word in our 
heart that we think can be hid in silence, for He hears things said in secret 
Who made things secret, and knows the secrets of the heart, and has 
implanted feelings within. Therefore as though under the eyes of the Judge 
let us consider all we do as set forth in the light, that it may be manifest to 
all. 



181 
CHAPTER 20 



Familiarity with good men is very advantageous to all, especially to 
the young, as is shown by the example of Joshua and Moses and 
others. Further, those who are unlike in age are often alike in 
virtues, as Peter and John prove. 

97 . It is a very good thing to unite oneself to a good man. It is also very 
useful for the young to follow the guidance of great and wise men. For he 
who lives in company with wise men is wise himself; but he who clings to 
the foolish is looked on as a fool too. This friendship with the wise is a 
great help in teaching us, and also as giving a sure proof of our uprightness. 
Young men show very soon that they imitate those to whom they attach 
themselves. And this idea gains ground from the fact that in all their daily 
life they grow to be like those with whom they have enjoyed intercourse 
to the full. 

98. Joshua the son of Nun became so great, because his union with Moses 
was the means not only of instructing him in a knowledge of the law, but 
also of sanctifying him to receive grace. When in His tabernacle the 
majesty of the Lord was seen to shine forth in its divine Presence, Joshua 
alone was in the tabernacle. When Moses spoke with God, Joshua too was 
covered by the sacred cloud. The priests and people stood below, and 
Joshua and Moses went up the mount to receive the law. All the people 
were within the camp; Joshua was without the camp in the tabernacle of 
witness. When the pillar of a cloud came down, and God spoke with 
Moses, he stood as a trusty servant beside him; and he, a young man, did 
not go out of the tabernacle, though the old men who stood afar off 
trembled at these divine wonders. 

99. Everywhere, therefore, he alone kept close to holy Moses amid all 
these wondrous works and dread secrets. Wherefore it happens that he 
who had been his companion in this intercourse with God succeeded to his 
power. Worthy surely was he to stand forth as a man who might stay the 
course of the river, and who might say: "Sun, stand still," and delay the 
night and lengthen the day, as though to witness his victory. Why? — a 



182 

blessing denied to Moses — he alone was chosen to lead the people into 
the promised land. A man he was, great in the wonders he wrought by 
faith, great in his triumphs. The works of Moses were of a higher type, his 
brought greater success. Either of these then aided by divine grace rose 
above all human standing. The one ruled the sea, the other heaven. 

100. Beautiful, therefore, is the union between old and young. The one to 
give witness, the other to give comfort; the one to give guidance, the other 
to give pleasure. I pass by Lot, who when young clung to Abraham, as he 
was setting out. For some perhaps might say this arose rather owing to 
their relationship than from any voluntary action on his part. And what 
are we to say of Elijah and Elisha? Though Scripture has not in so many 
words stated that Elisha was a young man, yet we gather from it that he 
was the younger. In the Acts of the Apostles, Barnabas took Mark with 
him, and Paul took Silas and Timothy and Titus. 

101. We see also that duties were divided amongst them according to their 
superiority in anything. The elders took the lead in giving counsel, the 
younger in showing activity. Often, too, those who were alike in virtue but 
unlike in years were greatly rejoiced at their union, as Peter and John were. 
We read in the Gospel that John was a young man, even in his own words, 
though he was behind none of the elders in merits and wisdom. For in him 
there was a venerable ripeness of character and the prudence of the 
hoarhead. An unspotted life is the due of a good old age. 



183 
CHAPTER 21 



To defend the weak, or to help strangers, or to perform similar 
duties, greatly adds to one's worth, especially in the case of tried 
men. Whilst one gets great blame for love of money; wastefulness, 
also, in the cue of priests is very much condemned. 

102. T he regard in which one is held is also very much enhanced when one 
rescues a poor man out of the hands of a powerful one, or saves a 
condemned criminal from death; so long as it can be done without 
disturbance, for fear that we might seem to be doing it rather for the sake 
of showing off than for pity's sake, and so might inflict severer wounds 
whilst desiring to heal slighter ones. But if one has freed a man who is 
crushed down by the resources and faction of a powerful person, rather 
than overwhelmed by the deserts of his own wickedness, then the witness 
of a great and high opinion grows strong. 

103. Hospitality also serves to recommend many. For it is a kind of open 
display of kindly feelings: so that the stranger may not want hospitality, 
but be courteously received, and that the door may be open to him when 
he comes. It is most seemly in the eyes of the whole world that the 
stranger should be received with honor; that the charm of hospitality 
should not fail at our table; that we should meet a guest with ready and 
free service, and look out for his arrival. 

104. This especially was Abraham's praise, for he watched at the door, of 
his tent, that no stranger by any chance might pass by. He carefully kept a 
lookout, so as to meet the stranger, and anticipate him, and ask him not to 
pass by, saying: "My Lord, if I have found favor in thy sight, pass not by 
thy servant." Therefore as a reward for his hospitality, he received the gift 
of posterity. 

105. Lot also, his nephew, who was near to him not only in relationship 
but also in virtue, on account of his readiness to show hospitality, turned 
aside the punishment of Sodom from himself and his family. 



184 

106. A man ought therefore to be hospitable, kind, upright, not desirous of 
what belongs to another, willing to give up some of his own rights if 
assailed, rather than to take away another's. He ought to avoid disputes, to 
hate quarrels. He ought to restore unity and the grace of quietness. When a 
good man gives up any of his own rights, it is not only a sign of liberality, 
but is also accompanied by great advantages. To start with, it is no small 
gain to be free from the cost of a lawsuit. Then it also brings in good 
results, by an increase of friendship, from which many advantages rise. 
These become afterwards most useful to the man that can despise a little 
something at the time. 

107. In all the duties of hospitality kindly feeling must be shown to all, but 
greater respect must be given to the upright. For "Whosoever receiveth a 
righteous man, in the name of a righteous man, shall receive a righteous 
man's reward," as the Lord has said. Such is the favor in which hospitality 
stands with God, that not even the draught of cold water shall fail of 
getting a reward. Thou seest that Abraham, in looking for guests, received 
God Himself to entertain. Thou seest that Lot received the angels. And 
how dost thou know that when thou receivest men, thou dost not receive 
Christ? Christ may be in the stranger that comes, for Christ is there in the 
person of the poor, as He Himself says: "I was in prison and thou earnest 
to Me, I was naked and thou didst clothe Me.". 

108. It is sweet, then, to seek not for money but for grace. It is true that 
this evil has long ago entered into human hearts, so that money stands in 
the place of honor, and the minds of men are filled with admiration for 
wealth. Thus love of money sinks in and as it were dries up every kindly 
duty; so,that men consider everything a loss which is spent beyond the 
usual amount. But even here the holy Scriptures have been on the watch 
against love of money, that it might prove no cause of hindrance, saying: 
"Better is hospitality, even though it consisteth only of herbs." And again: 
"Better is bread in pleasantness with peace." For the Scriptures teach us 
not to be wasteful, but liberal. 

109. There are two kinds of free-giving, one arising from liberality, the 
other from wasteful extravagance. It is a mark of liberality to receive the 
stranger, to clothe the naked, to redeem the captives, to help the needy. It 
is wasteful to spend money on expensive banquets and much wine. 



185 

Wherefore one reads: "Wine is wasteful, drunkenness is abusive." It is 
wasteful to spend one's own wealth merely for the sake of gaining the 
favor of the people. This they do who spend their inheritance on the 
games of the circus, or on theatrical pieces and gladiatorial shows, or even a 
combat of wild beasts, just to surpass the fame of their forefathers for 
these things. All this that they do is but foolish, for it is not right to be 
extravagant in spending money even on good works. 

1 10. It is a right kind of liberality to keep due measure towards the poor 
themselves, that one may have enough for more; and not to go beyond the 
right limit for the sake of winning favor. Whatever comes forth out of a 
pure sincere disposition, that is seemly. It is also seemly not to enter on 
unnecessary undertakings, nor to omit those that are needed. 

111. But it befits the priest especially to adorn the temple of God with 
fitting splendor, so that the court of the Lord may be made glorious by his 
endeavors. He ought always to spend money as mercy demands. It 
behooves him to give to strangers what is right. This must not be too 
much, but enough; not more than, but as much as, kindly feeling demands, 
so that he may never seek another' s favor at the expense of the poor, nor 
show himself as either too stingy or too free to the clergy. The one act is 
unkind, the other wasteful. It is unkind if money should be wanting for the 
necessities of those whom one ought to win back from their wretched 
employments. It is wasteful if there should be too much over for pleasure. 



186 
CHAPTER 22 



We must observe a right standard between too great mildness and 
excessive harshness. They who endeavor to creep into the hearts of 
others by a false show of mildness gain nothing substantial or 
lasting. This the example of Absalom plainly enough shows. 

1 1 2 . M oreover, due measure befits even our words and instructions, that 
it may not seem as though there was either too great mildness or too much 
harshness. Many prefer to be too mild, so as to appear to be good. But it 
is certain that nothing feigned or false can bear the form of true virtue; nay, 
it cannot even last. At first it flourishes, then, as time goes on, like a 
floweret it fades and passes away, but what is true and sincere has a deep 
root. 

1 13. To prove by examples our assertion that what is reigned cannot last, 
but flourishing just for a time quickly fails, we will take one example of 
pretense and falsehood from that family, from which we have already 
drawn so many examples to show their growth in virtue. 

1 14. Absalom was King David's son, known for his beauty, of splendid 
appearance and in the heyday of youth; so that no other such man as he 
was found in Israel. He was without a blemish from the sole of his foot to 
the crown of his head. He had for himself a chariot and horses and fifty 
men to run before him. He rose at early dawn and stood before the gate in 
the way, and whoever he knew to be seeking the judgment of the king, he 
called to himself, saying: "From what city art thou?" And he answered: "I 
thy servant am of one of the tribes of Israel." And Absalom answered: 
"Thy words are good and right. Is there none given thee by the king to hear 
thee? Who will make me a judge? And whosoever will come unto me, that 
hath need of judgment, I will give him justice." With such words he cajoled 
them. And when they came to make obeisance to him, stretching forth his 
hand he took hold of them and kissed them. So he turned the hearts of all 
to himself. For flattery of this sort quickly finds its way to touch the very 
depths of the heart. 



187 

115. Those spoilt and ambitious men chose what for a time seemed an 
honor to them, and was pleasing and enjoyable. But whilst that delay took 
place, which the prophet, being prudent above all, thought ought to 
intervene, they could no longer hold out or bear it. Then David having no 
doubt about the victory commended his son to those who went out to 
fight, so that they should spare him. He would not engage in the battle 
himself test he should seem to be taking up arms against one who was still 
his son, though attempting to destroy his father. 

1 16. It is clear, then, that those things are lasting and sound, which are true 
and grow out of a sincere and not a false heart. Those, however, which are 
brought about by pretense and adulation can never last for long. 



188 

CHAPTER 23 



The good faith of those who are easily bought over with money or 
flattery is a frail thing to trust to. 

1 1 7 . W ho would suppose that those who are bought over to obedience by 
money, or those who are allured by adulation, would ever be faithful to 
them? For the former are ever ready to sell themselves, whilst the latter 
cannot put up with a hard rule. They are easily won with a little adulation, 
but if one reproves them by a word, they murmur against it, they give one 
up, they go away with hostile feelings, they forsake one in anger. They 
prefer to rule rather than to obey. They think that those whom they ought 
to have placed over them ought to be subject to themselves, as though 
indebted to them by their kindness. 

118. What man is there that thinks those will be faithful to himself, whom 
he believes he will have to bind to himself by money or flattery? For he 
who takes thy money supposes that he is cheaply held, and looked down 
upon, unless the money is paid again and again. So he frequently expects 
his price; whilst the other, who is met with prayer and flattery, is always 
wanting to be asked. 



189 
CHAPTER 24 



We must strive for preferment only by right means. An office 
undertaken must be carded out wisely and with moderation. The 
inferior clergy should not detract from the bishop's reputation by 
reigned virtues; nor again, should the bishop be jealous of a cleric, 
but he should be just in all things and especially in giving judgment. 

119.1 think, then, that one should strive to win preferment, especially in 
the Church, only by good actions and with a right aim; so that there may 
be no proud conceit, no idle carelessness, no shameful disposition of mind, 
no unseemly ambition. A plain simplicity of mind is enough for 
everything, and commends itself quite sufficiently. 

120. When in office, again, it is not right to be harsh and severe, nor may 
one be too easy; lest on the one hand we should seem to be exercising a 
despotic power, and on the other to be by no means filling the office we 
had taken up. 

121. We must strive also to win many by kindnesses and duties that we 
can do, and to preserve the favor already shown us. For they will with 
good reason forget the benefits of former times if they are now vexed at 
some great wrong. For it often enough happens that those one has shown 
favor to and allowed to rise step by step, are driven away, if one decides in 
some unworthy way to put another before them. But it is seemly for a 
priest to show such favor in his kindnesses and his decisions as to guard 
equity, and to show regard to the other clergy as to parents. 

122. Those who once stood approved should not now become overbearing, 
but rather, as mindful of the grace they have received, stand firm in their 
humility. A priest ought not to be offended if either cleric or attendant or 
any ecclesiastic should win regard for himself, by showing mercy, or by 
fasting, or by uprightness of life, or by teaching and reading. For the grace 
of the Church is the praise of the teacher. It is a good thing that the work 
of another should be praised, if only it be done without any desire to 
boast. For each one should receive praise from the lips of his neighbor, and 



190 

not from his own mouth, and each one should be commended by the work 
he has done, not merely by the wishes he had. 

223. But if any one is disobedient to his bishop and wishes to exalt and 
upraise himself, and to overshadow his bishop's merits by a feigned 
appearance of learning or humility or mercy, he is wandering from the 
truth in his pride; for the rule of truth is, to do nothing to advance one's 
own cause whereby another loses ground, nor to use whatever good one 
has to the disgrace or blame of another. 

124. Never protect a wicked man, nor allow the sacred things to be given 
over to an unworthy one; on the other hand, do not harass and press hard 
on a man whose fault is not clearly proved. Injustice quickly gives offense 
in every case, but especially in the Church, where equity ought to exist, 
where like treatment should be given to all, so that a powerful person may 
not claim the more, nor a rich man appropriate the more. For whether we 
be poor or rich, we are one in Christ. Let him that lives a holier life claim 
nothing more thereby for himself; for he ought rather to be the more 
humble for it. 

125. In giving judgment let us have no respect of persons. Favor must be 
put out of sight, and the case be decided on its merits. Nothing is so great a 
strain on another's good opinion or confidence, as the fact of our giving 
away the cause of the weaker to the more powerful in any case that comes 
before us. The same happens if we are hard on the poor, whilst we make 
excuses for the rich man when guilty. Men are ready enough to flatter 
those in high positions, so as not to let them think themselves injured, or 
to feel vexed as though overthrown. But if thou fearest to give offense then 
do not undertake to give judgment. If thou art a priest or some cleric do not 
urge it. It is allowable for thee to be silent in the matter, if it be a money 
affair, though it is always due to consistency to be on the side of equity. 
But in the cause of God, where there is danger to the whole Church, it is 
no small sin to act as though one saw nothing. 



191 

CHAPTER 25 



Benefits should be conferred on the poor rather than on the rich, for 
these latter either think a return is expected from them, or else they 
are angry at seeming to be indebted for such an action. But the poor 
man makes God the debtor in his place, and freely owns to the 
benefits he has received. To these remarks is added a warning to 
despise riches. 

1 2 6 . B ut what advantage is it to thee to show favor to a rich man? Is it 
that he is more ready to repay one who loves him? For we generally show 
favor to those from whom we expect to receive a return of favor. But we 
ought to think far more of the weak and helpless, because we hope to 
receive, on behalf of him who has it not, a recompense from the Lord 
Jesus, Who in the likeness of a marriage feast has given us a general 
representation of virtue. By this He bids us confer benefits rather on those 
who cannot give them to us in return, teaching us to bid to our feasts and 
meals, not those who are rich, but those that are poor. For the rich seem to 
be asked that they may prepare a banquet for us in return; the poor, as 
they have nothing wherewith to make return, when they receive anything, 
make the Lord to be our recompense Who has offered Himself as surety 
for the poor. 

127. In the ordinary course of things, too, the conferring of a benefit on the 
poor is of more use than when it is conferred on the rich. The rich man 
scorns the benefit and is ashamed to feel indebted for a favor. Nay, 
moreover, whatever is offered to him he takes as due to his merits, as 
though only a just debt were paid him; or else he thinks it was but given 
because the giver expected a still greater return to be made him by the rich 
man. So. in accepting a kindness, the rich man, on that very ground, thinks 
that he has given more than he ever received. The poor man, however, 
though he has no money wherewith he can repay, at least shows his 
gratitude. And heroin it is certain that he returns more than he received. 
For money is paid in coins, but gratitude never fails; money grows less by 
payment, but gratitude fails when held back, and is preserved when given 
to others. Next — a thing the rich man avoids — the poor man owns that 



192 

he feels bound by the debt. He really thinks help has been given him, not 
that it has been offered in return for his honor. He considers that his 
children have been again given him, that his life is restored and his family 
preserved. How much better, then, is it to confer benefits upon the good 
than on the ungrateful. 

128. Wherefore the Lord said to His disciples: "Take neither gold nor 
silver nor money." Whereby as with a sickle He cuts off the love of money 
that is ever growing up in human hearts. Peter also said to the lame man, 
who was always carried even from his mother's womb: "Silver and gold 
have I none, but what I have give I thee. In the Name of Jesus Christ of 
Nazareth, arise and walk." So he gave not money, but he gave health. How 
much better it is to have health without money, than money without 
health! The lame man rose; he had not hoped for that: he received no 
money; though he had hoped for that. But riches are hardly to be found 
among the saints of the Lord, so as to become objects of contempt to 
them. 



193 

CHAPTER 26 



How long standing an evil love of money is, is plain from many 
examples in the Old Testament. And yet it is plain, too, how idle a 
thing the possession of money is. 

129. B ut man's habits have so long applied themselves to this admiration 
of money, that no one is thought worthy of honor unless he is rich. This is 
no new habit. Nay, this vice (and that makes the matter worse) grew long 
years ago in the hearts of men. When the city of Jericho fell at the sound of 
the priests' trumpets, and Joshua the son of Nun gained the victory, he 
knew that the valor of the people was weakened through love of money 
and desire for gold. For when Achan had taken a garment of gold and two 
hundred shekels of silver and a golden ingot from the spoils of the ruined 
city, he was brought before the Lord, and could not deny the theft, but 
owned it. 

130. Love of money, then, is an old, an ancient vice, which showed itself 
even at the declaration of the divine law; for a law was given to check it. 
On account of love of money Balak thought Balaam could be tempted by 
rewards to curse the people of our fathers. Love of money would have 
won the day too, had not God bidden him hold back from cursing. 
Overcome by love of money Achan led to destruction all the people of the 
fathers. So Joshua the son of Nun, who could stay the sun from setting, 
could not stay the love of money in man from creeping on. At the sound of 
his voice the sun stood still, but love of money stayed not. When the sun 
stood still Joshua completed his triumph, but when love of money went 
on, he almost lost the victory. 

131. Why? Did not the woman Delilah's love of money deceive Samson, 
the bravest man of all So he who had torn asunder the roaring lion with his 
hands; who, when bound and handed over to his enemies, alone, without 
help, burst his bonds and slew a thousand of them; who broke the cords 
interwoven with sinews as though they were but the slight threads of a 
net; he, I say, having laid his head on the woman' s knee, was robbed of the 
decoration of his victory -bringing hair, that which gave him his might. 



194 

Money flowed into the lap of the woman, and the favor of God forsook 
the man. 

132. Love of money, then, is deadly. Seductive is money, whilst it also 
defiles those who have it, and helps not those who have it not. Supposing 
that money sometimes is a help, yet it is only a help to a poor man who 
makes his want known. What good is it to him who does not long for it, 
nor seek it; who does not need its help and is not turned aside by pursuit 
of it? What good is it to others, if he who has it is alone the richer for it? Is 
he therefore more honorable because he has that whereby honor is often 
lost, because he has what he must guard rather than possess? We possess 
what we use, but what is beyond our use brings us no fruit of possession, 
but only the danger of watching. 



195 
CHAPTER 27 



In contempt of money there is the pattern of justice, which virtue 
bishops and clerics ought to aim at together with some others. A few 
words are added on the duty of not bringing an excommunication too 
quickly into force. 

133. To come to an end; we know that contempt of riches is a form of 
justice, therefore we ought to avoid love of money, and strive with all our 
powers never to do anything against justice, but to guard it in all our deeds 
and actions. 

134. If we would please God, we must have love, we must be of one mind, 
we must follow humility, each one thinking the other higher than himself. 
This is true humility, when one never claims anything proudly for oneself, 
but thinks oneself to be the inferior. The bishop should treat the clerics 
and attendants, who are indeed his sons, as members of himself, and give 
to each one that duty for which he sees him to be fit. 

135. Not without pain is a limb of the body cut off which has become 
corrupt. It is treated for a long time, to see if it can be cured with various 
remedies. If it cannot be cured, then it is cut off by a good physician. Thus 
it is a good bishop's desire to wish to heal the weak, to remove the 
spreading ulcers, to burn some parts and not to cut them off; and lastly, 
when they cannot be healed, to cut them off with pain to himself. 
Wherefore that beautiful rule of the Apostle stands forth brightly, that we 
should look each one, not on his own things, but on the things of others. In 
this way it will never come about that we shall in anger give way to our 
own feelings, or concede more than is right in favor to our own wishes. 



196 

CHAPTER 28 



Mercy must be freely shown even though it brings an odium of its 
own. With regard to this, reference is made to the well-known story 
about the sacred vessels which were broken up by Ambrose to pay for 
the redemption of captives; and very beautiful advice is given about 
the right use of the gold and silver which the Church possesses. 
Next, after showing from the action of holy Lawrence what are the 
true treasures of the Church, certain rules are laid down which 
ought to be observed in melting down and employing for such uses 
the consecrated vessels of the Church. 

136. It is a very great incentive to mercy to share in others' misfortunes, to 
help the needs of others as far as our means allow, and sometimes even 
beyond them. For it is better for mercy's sake to take up a case, or to 
suffer odium rather than to show hard feeling. So I once brought odium on 
myself because I broke up the sacred vessels to redeem captives — a fact 
that could displease the Arians. Not that it displeased them as an act, but 
as being a thing in which they could take hold of something for which to 
blame me. Who can be so hard, cruel, iron-hearted, as to be displeased 
because a man is redeemed from death, or a woman from barbarian 
impurities, things that are worse than death, or boys and girls and infants 
from the pollution of idols, whereby through fear of death they were 
defiled? 

137. Although we did not act thus without good reason, yet we have 
followed it up among the people so as to confess and to add again and 
again that it was far better to preserve souls than gold for the Lord. For He 
Who sent the apostles without gold also brought together the churches 
without gold. The Church has gold, not to store up, but to lay out, and to 
spend on those who need. What necessity is there to guard what is of no 
good? Do we not know how much gold and silver the Assyrians took out 
of the temple of the Lord? Is it not much better that the priests should 
melt it down for the sustenance of the poor, if other supplies fail, than that 
a sacrilegious enemy should carry it off and defile it? Would not the Lord 
Himself say: Why didst thou suffer so many needy to die of hunger? 



197 

Surely thou hadst gold? Thou shouldst have given them sustenance. Why 
are so many captives brought on the slave market, and why are so many 
unredeemed left to be slain by the enemy? It had been better to preserve 
living vessels than gold ones. 

138. To this no answer could be given. For what wouldst thou say: I 
feared that the temple of God would need its ornaments? He would 
answer: The sacraments need not gold, nor are they proper to gold only — 
for they are not bought with gold. The glory of the sacraments is the 
redemption of captives. Truly they are precious vessels, for they redeem 
men from death. That, indeed, is the true treasure of the Lord which effects 
what His blood effected. Then, indeed, is the vessel of the Lord's blood 
recognized, when one sees in either redemption, so that the chalice redeems 
from the enemy those whom His blood redeemed from sin. How 
beautifully it is said, when long lines of captives are redeemed by the 
Church: These Christ has redeemed. Behold the gold that can be tried, 
behold the useful gold, behold the gold of Christ which frees from death, 
behold the gold whereby modesty is redeemed and chastity is preserved. 

139. These, then, I preferred to hand over to you as free men, rather than 
to store up the gold. This crowd of captives, this company surely is more 
glorious than the sight of cups. The gold of the Redeemer ought to 
contribute to this work so as to redeem those in danger. I recognize the fact 
that the blood of Christ not only glows in cups of gold, but also by the 
office of redemption has impressed upon them the power of the divine 
operation. 

140. Such gold the holy martyr Lawrence preserved for the Lord. For 
when the treasures of the Church were demanded from him, he promised 
that he would show them. On the following day he brought the poor 
together. When asked where the treasures were which he had promised, he 
pointed to the poor, saying: "These are the treasures of the Church." And 
truly they were treasures, in whom Christ lives, in whom there is faith in 
Him. So, too, the Apostle says: "We have this treasure in earthen vessels." 
What greater treasures has Christ than those in whom He says He Himself 
lives? For thus it is written: "I was hungry and ye gave Me to eat, I was 
thirsty and ye gave Me to drink, I was a stranger and ye took Me in." And 



198 

again: "What thou didst to one of these, thou didst it unto Me." What 
better treasures has Jesus than those in which He loves to be seen? 

141. These treasures Lawrence pointed out, and prevailed, for the 
persecutors could not take them away. Jehoiachim, who preserved his gold 
during the siege and spent it not in providing food, saw his gold carried off, 
and himself led into captivity. Lawrence, who preferred to spend the gold 
of the Church on the poor, rather than to keep it in hand for the 
persecutor, received the sacred crown of martyrdom for the unique and 
deep-sighted vigor of his meaning. Or was it perhaps said to holy 
Lawrence: "Thou shouldst not spend the treasures of the Church, or sell 
the sacred vessels "? 

142. It is necessary that every one should fill this office, with genuine good 
faith and clear-sighted forethought. If any one derives profit from it for 
himself it is a crime, but if he spends the treasures on the poor, or redeems 
captives, he shows mercy. For no one can say: Why does the poor man 
live? None can complain that captives are redeemed, none can find fault 
because a temple of the Lord is built, none can be angry because a plot of 
ground has been enlarged for the burial of the bodies of the faithful, none 
can be vexed because in the tombs of the Christians there is rest for the 
dead. In these three ways it is allowable to break up, melt down, or sell 
even the sacred vessels of the Church. 

143. It is necessary to see that the mystic cup does not go out of the 
Church, lest the service of the sacred chalice should be turned over to base 
uses. Therefore vessels were first sought for in the Church which had not 
been consecrated to such holy uses. Then broken up and afterwards melted 
down, they were given to the poor in small payments, and were also used 
for the ransom of captives. But if new vessels fail, or those which never 
seem to have been used tot such a holy purpose, then, as I have already 
said, I think that all might be put to this use without irreverence. 



199 

CHAPTER 29 



The property of widows or of all the faithful, that has been entrusted 
to the Church, ought to be defended though it brings danger to 
oneself. This is illustrated by the example of Onias the priest, and of 
Ambrose, bishop of Ticinum. 

144. G reat care must be taken that the property entrusted by widows 
remains inviolate. It should be guarded without causing complaint, not 
only if it belongs to widows, but to any one at all. For good faith must be 
shown to all, though the cause of the widow and orphans comes first. 

145. So everything entrusted to the temple was preserved in the name of 
the widows alone, as we read in the book of the Maccabees. For when 
information was given of the money, which Simon treacherously had told 
King Antiochus could be found in large quantities in the temple at 
Jerusalem, Heliodorus was sent to look into the matter. He came to the 
temple, and made known to the high priest his hateful information and the 
reason of his coming. 

146. Then the priest said that only means for the maintenance of the 
widows and orphans was laid up there. And when Heliodorus would have 
gone to seize it, and to claim it on the king's behalf, the, priests cast 
themselves before the altar, after putting on their priestly robes, and with 
tears called on the living God Who had given them the law concerning 
trust-money to show Himself as guardian of His own commands. The 
changed look and color of the high priest showed what grief of soul and 
anxiety and tension of mind were his. All wept, for the spot would fall 
into contempt, if not even in the temple of God safe and faithful 
guardianship could be preserved. Women with breasts girded, and virgins 
who usually were shut in, knocked at the doors. Some ran to the walls, 
others looked out of the windows, all raised their hands to heaven in 
prayer that God would stand by His laws. 

147. But Heliodorus, undeterred by this, was eager to carry out his 
intention, and had already surrounded the treasury with his followers, 
when suddenly there appeared to him a dreadful horseman all glorious in 



200 

golden armor, his horse also being adorned with costly ornaments. Two 
other youths also appeared in glorious might and wondrous beauty, in 
splendor and glory and beauteous array. They stood round him, and on 
either side beat the sacrilegious wretch, and gave him stroke after stroke 
without intermission. What more need I say? Shut in by darkness he fell to 
the ground, and lay there nearly dead with fear at this plain proof of divine 
power, nor had he any hope of safety left within him. Joy returned to 
those who were in fear, fear fell on those who were so proud before. And 
some of the friends of Heliodorus in their trouble besought Onias, asking 
life for him, since he was almost at his last breath. 

148. When, therefore, the high priest asked for this, the same youths again 
appeared to Heliodorus, clad in the same garments, and said to him: Give 
thanks to Onias the high priest, for whose sake thy life is granted thee. But 
do thou, having experienced the scourge of God, go and tell thy friends 
how much thou hast learnt of the sanctity of the temple and the power of 
God. With these words they passed out of sight. Heliodorus then, his life 
having come back to him, offered a sacrifice to the Lord, gave thanks to the 
priest Onias, and returned with his army to the king, saying: "If thou hast 
an enemy or one who is plotting against thy power, send him thither and 
thou wilt receive him back well scourged." 

149. Therefore, my sons, good faith must be preserved in the case of 
trust-money, and care, too, must be shown. Your service will glow the 
brighter if the oppression of a powerful man, which some widow or 
orphan cannot withstand, is checked by the assistance of the Church, and 
if ye show that the command of the Lord has more weight with you than 
the favor of the rich. 

150. Ye also remember how often we entered on a contest against the royal 
attacks, on behalf of the trust-money belonging to widows, yea, and to 
others as well. You and I shared this in common. I will also mention the 
late case of the Church at Ticinum, which was in danger of losing the 
widow's trust-money that it had received. For when he who wanted to 
claim it on some imperial rescript demanded it, the clergy did not maintain 
their rights. For they themselves, having once been called to office and sent 
to intervene, now supposed that they could not oppose the emperor's 
orders. The plain words of the rescript were read, the orders of the chief 



201 

officer of the court were there, he who was to act in the matter was at 
hand. What more was to be said? It was handed over. 

151. However, after taking counsel with me, the holy bishop took 
possession of the rooms to which he knew that the widow's property had 
been carried. As it could not be carried away, it was all set down in 
writing. Later on it was again demanded on proof of the document. The 
emperor repeated the order, and would meet us himself in his own person. 
We refused. And when the force of the divine law, and a long list of 
passages and the danger of Heliodorus was explained, at length the 
emperor became reasonable. Afterwards, again, an attempt was made to 
seize it, but the good bishop anticipated the attempt and restored to the 
widow all he had received. So faith was preserved, but the oppression was 
no longer a cause for fear; for now it is the matter itself, not good faith, 
that is in danger. 



202 

CHAPTER 30 



The ending of the book brings an exhortation to avoid ill-will, and to 
seek prudence, faith, and the other virtues. 

152. My sons, avoid wicked men, guard against the envious. There is this 
difference between a wicked and an envious man: the wicked man is 
delighted at his own good fortune, but the envious is tortured at the 
thought of an other's. The former loves evil, the latter hates good. So he is 
almost more bearable who desires good for himself alone, than he who 
desires evil for all. 

153. My sons, think before you act, and when you have thought long then 
do what you consider right. When the opportunity of a praiseworthy 
death is given let it be seized at once. Glory that is put off flies away and 
is not easily laid hold of again. 

154. Love faith. For by his devotion and faith Josiah won great love for 
himself from his enemies. For he celebrated the Lord's passover when he 
was eighteen years old, as no one had done it before him. As then in zeal 
he was superior to those who went before him, so do ye, my sons, show 
zeal for God. Let zeal for God search you through, and devour you, so that 
each one of you may say: "The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up." An 
apostle of Christ was called the zealot. But why do I speak of an apostle? 
The Lord Himself said: "The zeal of thine house hath eaten Me up." Let it 
then be real zeal for God, not mean earthy zeal, for that causes jealousy. 

155. Let there be peace among you, which passeth all understanding. Love 
one another. Nothing is sweeter than charity, nothing more blessed than 
peace. Ye yourselves know that I have ever loved you and do now love 
you above all others. As the children of one father ye have become united 
under the bond of brotherly affection. 

156. Whatsoever is good, that hold fast; and the God of peace and love be 
with you in the Lord Jesus, to Whom be honor and glory, dominion and 
might, together with the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen. 



203 

BOOK III 

CHAPTER 1 



We are taught by David and Solomon how to take counsel with our 
own heart. Scipio is not to be accounted prime author of the saying 
which is ascribed to him. The writer proves What glorious things the 
holy prophets accomplished in their time of quiet, and shows, by 
examples of their and others' leisure moments, that a just man is 
never alone in trouble. 

1 . T he prophet David taught us that we should go about in our heart as 
though in a large house; that we should hold converse with it as with some 
trusty companion. He spoke to himself, and conversed with himself, as 
these words show: "I said, I will take heed to my ways." Solomon his son 
also said: "Drink water out of thine own vessels, and out of the springs of 
thy wells;" that is: use thine own counsel. For: "Counsel in the heart of a 
man is as deep waters." "Let no stranger," it says, "share it with thee. Let 
the fountain of thy water be thine own, and rejoice with thy wife who is 
thine from thy youth. Let the loving hind and pleasant doe converse with 
thee." 

2. Scipio, therefore, was not the first to know that he was not alone when 
he was alone, or that he was least at leisure when he was at leisure. For 
Moses knew it before him, who, when silent, was crying out; who, when 
he stood at ease, was fighting, nay, not merely fighting but triumphing over 
enemies whom he had not come near. So much was he at ease, that others 
held up his hands; yet he was no less active than others, for he with his 
hands at ease was overcoming the enemy, whom they that were in the 
battle could not conquer. Thus Moses in his silence spoke, and in his ease 
labored hard. And were his labors greater than his times of quiet, who, 
being in the mount for forty days, received the whole law? And in that 
solitude there was One not far away to speak with him. Whence also 
David says: "I will hear what the Lord God will say within me." How 



204 

much greater a thing is it for God to speak with any one, than for a man to 
speak with himself! 

3. The apostles passed by and their shadows cured the sick. Their 
garments were touched and health was granted. 

4. Elijah spoke the word, and the rain ceased and fell not on the earth for 
three years and six months. Again he spoke, and the barrel of meal failed 
not, and the cruse of oil wasted not the whole time of that long famine. 

5. But — as many delight in warfare — which is the most glorious, to 
bring a battle to an end by the strength of a great army, or, by merits 
before God alone? Elisha rested in one place while the king of Syria waged 
a great war against the people of our fathers, and was adding to its terrors 
by various treacherous plans, and was endeavoring to catch them in an 
ambush. But the prophet found out all their preparations, and being by the 
grace of God present everywhere in mental vigor, he told the thoughts of 
their enemies to his countrymen, and warned them of what places to 
beware. And when this was known to the king of Syria, he sent an army 
and shut in the prophet. Elisha prayed and caused all of them to be struck 
with blindness, and made those who had come to besiege him enter Samaria 
as captives. 

6. Let us compare this leisure of his with that of others. Other men for the 
sake of rest are wont to withdraw their minds from business, and to retire 
from the company and companionship of men; to seek the retirement of 
the country or the solitude of the fields, or in the city to give their minds a 
rest and to enjoy peace and quietness. But Elisha was ever active. In 
solitude he divided Jordan on passing over it, so that the lower part flowed 
down, whilst the upper returned to its source. On Carmel he promises the 
woman, who so far had had no child, that a son now unhoped for should 
be born to her. He raises the dead to life, he corrects the bitterness of the 
food, and makes it to be sweet by mixing meal with it. Having distributed 
ten loaves to the people for food, he gathered up the fragments that were 
left after they had been filled. He makes the iron head of the axe, which had 
fallen off and was sunk deep in the river Jordan, to swim by putting the 
wooden handle in the water. He changes leprosy for cleanness, drought for 
rain, famine for plenty. 



205 

7. When can the upright man be alone, since he is always with God? When 
is he left forsaken who is never separated from Christ? "Who," it says, 
"shall separate us from the love of Christ? I am confident that neither 
death nor life nor angel shall do so." And when can he be deprived of his 
labor who never can be deprived of his merits, wherein his labor receives 
its crown? By what places is he limited to whom the whole world of riches 
is a possession? By what judgment is he confined who is never blamed by 
any one? For he is "as unknown yet well known, as dying and behold he 
lives, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as 
having nothing and yet possessing all things." For the upright man regards 
nothing but what is consistent and virtuous. And so although he seems 
poor to another, he is rich to himself, for his worth is taken not at the 
value of the things which are temporal, but of the things which are eternal. 



206 
CHAPTER 2 



The discussions among philosophers about the comparison between 
what is virtuous and what is useful have nothing to do with 
Christians. For with them nothing is useful which is not just. What 
are the duties of perfection, and what are ordinary duties? The same 
words often suit different things in different ways. Lastly, a just man 
never seeks his own advantage at the cost of another's disadvantage, 
but rather is always on the lookout for what is useful to others. 

8. A s we have already spoken about the two former subjects, wherein we 
discussed what is virtuous and what is useful, there follows now the 
question whether we ought to compare what is virtuous and useful 
together, and to ask which we must follow. For, as we have already 
discussed the matter as to whether a thing is virtuous or wicked, and in 
another place whether it is useful or useless, so here some think we ought 
to find out whether a thing is virtuous or useful. 

9. 1 am induced to do this, lest I should seem to be allowing that these two 
are mutually opposed to one another, when I have already shown them to 
be one. For I said that nothing can be virtuous but what is useful, and 
nothing can be useful but what is virtuous. For we do not follow the 
wisdom of the flesh, whereby the usefulness that consists in an abundance 
of money is held to be of most value, but we follow that wisdom which is 
of God, whereby those things which are greatly valued in this world are 
counted but as loss. 

10. For this KOCTOpGcouxic, which is duty carried out entirely and in 
perfection, starts from the true source of virtue. On this follows another, 
or ordinary duty. This shows by its name that no hard or extraordinary 
practice of virtue is involved, for it can be common to very many. The 
desire to save money is the usual practice with many. To enjoy a 
well-prepared banquet and a pleasant meal is a general habit; but to fast or 
to use self-restraint is the practice of but few, and not to be desirous of 
another's goods is a virtue rarely found. On the other hand, to wish to 
deprive another of his property — and not to be content with one's due 



207 

— here one will find many to keep company with one. Those (the 
philosopher would say) are primary duties — these ordinary. The primary 
are found but with few, the ordinary with the many. 

11. Again, the same words often have a different meaning. For instance, we 
call God good and a man good; but it bears in each case quite a different 
meaning. We call God just in one sense, man in another. So, too, there is a 
difference in meaning when we call God wise and a man wise. This we are 
taught in the Gospel: "Be ye perfect even as your Father Who is in heaven 
is perfect." I read again that Paul was perfect and yet not perfect. For 
when he said: "Not as though I had already attained, either were already 
perfect; but I follow after, if that. I may apprehend it." Immediately he 
added: "We, then, that are perfect." There is a twofold form of perfection, 
the one having but ordinary, the other the highest worth. The one availing 
here, the other hereafter. The one in accordance with human powers, the 
other with the perfection of the world to come. But God is just through all, 
wise above all, perfect in all. 

12. There is also diversity even among men themselves. Daniel, of whom it 
was said: "Who is wiser than Daniel?" was wise in a different sense to 
what others are. The same may be said of Solomon, who was filled with 
wisdom, above all the wisdom of the ancients, and more than all the wise 
men of Egypt. To be wise as men are in general is quite a different thing to 
being really wise. He who is ordinarily wise is wise for temporal matters, 
is wise for himself, so as to deprive another of something and get it for 
himself. He who is really wise does not know how to regard his own 
advantage, but looks with all his desire to that which is eternal, and to that 
which is seemly and virtuous, seeking not what is useful for himself, but 
for all. 

13. Let this, then, be our rule, so that we may never go wrong between two 
things, one virtuous, the other useful. The upright man must never think of 
depriving another of anything, nor must he ever wish to increase his own 
advantage to the disadvantage of another. This rule the Apostle gives thee, 
saying: "All things are lawful, but all things are not expedient; all things are 
lawful, but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but each one 
another's." That is: Let no man seek his own advantage, but another's; let 
no man seek his own honor, but another's. Wherefore he says in another 



208 

place: "Let each esteem other better than themselves, looking not each one 
to his own things, but to the things of others." 

14. And let no one seek his own favor or his own praise, but another's. 
This we can plainly see declared in the book of Proverbs, where the Holy 
Spirit says through Solomon: "My son, if thou be wise, be wise for 
thyself and thy neighbors; but if thou turn out evil, thou alone shalt bear 
it." The wise man gives counsel to others, as the upright man does, and 
shares with him in wearing the form of either virtue. 



209 
CHAPTER 3 



The rule given about not seeking one's own gain is established, first 
by the examples of Christ, next by the meaning of the word, and 
lastly by the very form and uses of our limbs. Wherefore the writer 
shows what a crime it is to deprive another of what is useful, since 
the law of nature as well as the divine law is broken by such 
wickedness. Further, by its means we also lose that gift which makes 
us superior to other living creatures; and lastly, through it civil laws 
are abused and treated with the greatest contempt. 

15. If, then, any one wishes to please all, he must strive in everything to 
do, not what is useful for himself, but what is useful for many, as also Paul 
strove to do. For this is "to be conformed to the image of Christ," namely, 
when one does not strive for what is another's, and does not deprive 
another of something so as to gain it for oneself. For Christ our Lord, 
though He was in the form of God, emptied Himself so as to take on 
Himself the form of man, which He wished to enrich with the virtue of His 
works. Wilt thou, then, spoil him whom Christ has put on? Wilt thou strip 
him whom Christ has clothed? For this is what thou art doing when thou 
dost attempt to increase thine own advantage at another's loss. 

16. Think, O man, from whence thou hast received thy name — even from 
the earth, which takes nothing from any one, but gives freely to all, and 
supplies varied produce for the use of all living things. Hence humanity is 
called a particular and innate virtue in man, for it assists its partner. 

17. The very form of thy body and the uses of thy limbs teach thee this. 
Can one limb claim the duties of another? Can the eye claim for itself the 
duties of the ear; or the mouth the duties of the eye; or the hand the service 
of the feet; or the feet that of the hands? Nay, the hands themselves, both 
left and right, have different duties to do, so that if one were to change the 
use of either, one would act contrary to nature. We should have to lay 
aside the whole man before we could change the service of the various 
members: as if, for instance, we were to try to take food with the left hand, 



210 

or to perform the duties of the left hand with the right, so as to remove the 
remains of food — unless, of course, need demanded it. 

18. Imagine for a moment, and give to the eye the power to withdraw the 
understanding from the head, the sense of hearing from the ears, the power 
of thought from the mind, the sense of smell from the nose, the sense of 
taste from the mouth, and then to assume them itself, would it not at once 
destroy the whole order of nature? Wherefore the Apostle says well: "If 
the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were 
hearing, where were the smelling?" So, then, we are all one body, though 
with many members, all necessary to the body. For no one member can 
say of another: "I have no need of thee." For those members which seem 
to be more feeble are much more necessary and require greater care and 
attention. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. 

19. So we see how grave a matter it is to deprive another, with whom we 
ought rather to suffer, of anything, or to act unfairly or injuriously towards 
one to whom we ought to give a share in our services. This is a true law of 
nature, which binds us to show all kindly feeling, so that we should all of 
us in turn help one another, as parts of one body, and should never think 
of depriving another of anything, seeing it is against the law of nature even 
to abstain from giving help. We are born in such a way that limb combines 
with limb, and one works with another, and all assist each other in mutual 
service. But if one fails in its duty, the rest are hindered. If, for instance, 
the hand tears out the eye, has it not hindered the use, of its work? If it 
were to wound the foot, how many actions would it not prevent? But how 
much worse is it for the whole man to be drawn aside from his duty than 
for one of the members only! If the whole body is injured in one member, 
so also is the whole community of the human race disturbed in one man. 
The nature of mankind is injured, as also is the society of the holy Church, 
which rises into one united body, bound together in oneness of faith and 
love. Christ the Lord, also, Who died for all, will grieve that the price of 
His blood was paid in vain. 

20. Why, the very law of the Lord teaches us that this rule must be 
observed, so that we may never deprive another of anything for the sake of 
our own advantage. For it says: "Remove not the bounds which thy 
fathers have set." It bids a neighbor's ox to be brought back if found 



211 

wandering. It orders a thief to be put to death. It forbids the laborer to be 
deprived of his hire, and orders money to be returned without usury. It is a 
mark of kindly feeling to help him who has nothing, but it is a sign of a 
hard nature to extort more than one has given. If a man has need of thy 
assistance because he has not enough of his own wherewith to repay a 
debt, is it not a wicked thing to demand under the guise of kindly feeling a 
larger sum from him who has not the means to pay off a less amount? 
Thou dost but free him from debt to another, to bring him under thy own 
hand; and thou callest that human kindliness which is but a further 
wickedness. 

21. It is in this very matter that we stand before all other living creatures, 
for they do not understand how to do good. Wild beasts snatch away, men 
share with others. Wherefore the Psalmist says: "The righteous showeth 
mercy and giveth." There are some, however, to whom the wild beasts do 
good. They feed their young with what they get, and the birds satisfy their 
brood with food; but to men alone has it been given to feed all as though 
they were their own. That is so in accordance with the claims of nature. 
And if it is not lawful to refuse to give, how is it lawful to deprive 
another? And do not our very laws teach us the same? They order those 
things which have been taken from others with injury to their persons or 
property to be restored with additional recompense; so as to check the 
thief from stealing by the penalty, and by the fine to recall him from his 
ways. 

22. Suppose, however, that some one did not fear the penalty, or laughed 
at the fine, would that make it a worthy thing to deprive another of his 
own? That would be a mean vice and suited only to the lowest of the low. 
So contrary to nature is it, that while want might seem to drive one to it, 
yet nature could never urge it. And yet we find secret theft among slaves, 
open robbery among the rich. 

23. But what so contrary to nature as to injure another for our own 
benefit? The natural feelings of our own hearts urge us to keep on the 
watch for all, to undergo trouble, to do work for all. It is considered also a 
glorious thing for each one at risk to himself to seek the quiet of all, and to 
think it far more thankworthy to have saved his country from destruction 
than to have kept danger from himself. We must think it a far more noble 



212 

thing to labor for our country than to pass a quiet life at ease in the full 
enjoyment of leisure. 



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As it has been shown that he who injures another for the sake of his 
own advantage will undergo terrible punishment at the hand of his 
own conscience, it is referred that nothing is useful to one which is 
not in the same way useful to all. Thus there is no place among 
Christians for the question propounded by the philosophers about 
two shipwrecked persons, for they must show love and humility to 
all. 

2 4 . H ence we infer that a man who guides himself according to the ruling 
of nature, so as to be obedient to her, can never injure another. If he injures 
another, he violates nature, nor will he think that what he has gained is so 
much an advantage as a disadvantage. And what punishment is worse than 
the wounds of the conscience within? What judgment harder than that of 
our hearts, whereby each one stands convicted and accuses himself of the 
injury that he has wrongfully done against his brother? This the Scriptures 
speak of very plainly, saying: "Out of the mouth of fools there is a rod for 
wrong-doing." Folly, then, is condemned because it causes wrong-doing. 
Ought we not rather to avoid this, than death, or loss, or want, or exile, or 
sickness? Who would not think some blemish of body or loss of 
inheritance far less than some blemish of soul or loss of reputation? 

25. It is clear, then, that all must consider and hold that the advantage of 
the individual is the same as that of all, and that nothing must be 
considered advantageous except what is for the general good. For how can 
one be benefited alone? That which is useless to all is harmful. I certainly 
cannot think that he who is useless to all can be of use to himself. For if 
there is one law of nature for all, there is also one state of usefulness for 
all. And we are bound by the law of nature to act for the good of all. It is 
not, therefore, right for him who wishes the interests of another to be 
considered according to nature, to injure him against the law of nature. 

26. For if those who run in a race are, as one hears, instructed and warned 
each one to win the race by swiftness of foot and not by any foul play, 
and to hasten on to victory by running as hard as they can, but not to dare 



214 

to trip up another or push him aside with their hand, how much more in 
the course of this life ought the victory to be won by us, without falseness 
to another and cheating? 

27. Some ask whether a wise man ought in case of a shipwreck to take 
away a plank from an ignorant sailor? Although it seems better for the 
common good that a wise man rather than a fool should escape from 
shipwreck, yet I do not think that a Christian, a just and a wise man, ought 
to save his own life by the death of another; just as when he meets with an 
armed robber he cannot return his blows, lest in defending his life he 
should stain his love toward his neighbor. The verdict on this is plain and 
clear in the books of the Gospel. "Put up thy sword, for every one that 
taketh the sword shall perish with the sword." What robber is more hateful 
than the persecutor who came to kill Christ? But Christ would not be 
defended from the wounds of the persecutor, for He willed to heal all by 
His wounds. 

28. Why dost thou consider thyself greater than another, when a Christian 
man ought to put others before himself, to claim nothing for himself, usurp 
no honors, claim no reward for his merits? Why, next, art thou not wont to 
bear thy own troubles rather than to destroy another's advantage? For 
what is so contrary to nature as not to be content with what one has or to 
seek what is another's, and to try to get it in shameful ways. For if a 
virtuous life is in accordance with nature — for God made all things very 
good — then shameful living must be opposed to it A virtuous and a 
shameful life cannot go together, since they are absolutely severed by the 
law of nature. 



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The upright does nothing that is contrary to duty, even though there 
is a hope of keeping it secret. To point this out the tale about the 
ring of Gyges was invented by the philosophers. Exposing this, he 
brings forward known and true examples from the life of David and 
John the Baptist. 

29. T o lay down here already the result of our discussion, as though we 
had already ended it, we declare it a fixed rule, that we must never aim at 
anything hut what is virtuous. The wise man does nothing but what can be 
done openly and without falseness, nor does he do anything whereby he 
may involve himself in any wrong-doing, even where he may escape 
notice. For he is guilty in his own eyes, before being so in the eyes of 
others; and the publicity of his crime does not bring him more shame than 
his own consciousness of it. This we can show, not by the made-up 
stories which philosophers use, but from the true examples of good men. 

30. 1 need not, therefore, imagine a great chasm in the earth, which had 
been loosened by heavy rains, and had afterwards burst asunder, as Plato 
does. For he makes Gyges descend into that chasm, and to meet there that 
iron horse of the fable that had doors in its sides. When these doors were 
opened, he found a gold ring on the finger of a dead man, whose corpse lay 
there lifeless. He desiring the gold took away the ring. But when he 
returned to the king's shepherds, to whose number he belonged, by chance 
having turned the stone inwards towards the palms of his hands, he saw 
all, yet was seen by none. Then when he turned the ring to its proper 
position, he was again seen by all. On becoming conscious of this strange 
power, by the use of the ring he committed adultery with the queen, killed 
the king, and took possession of the kingdom after slaying all the rest, who 
he thought should be put to death, so that they might be no hindrance to 
him. 

31. Give, says Plato, this ring to a wise man, that when he commits a fault 
he may by its help remain unnoticed; yet he will be none the more free 
from the stain of sin than if he could not be hid. The hiding-place of the 



216 

wise lies not in the hope of impunity but in his own innocency. Lastly, the 
law is not laid down for the just but for the unjust. For the just has within 
himself the law of his mind, and a rule of equity and justice. Thus he is not 
recalled from sin by fear of punishment, but by the rule of a virtuous life. 

32. Therefore, to return to our subject, I will now bring forward, not false 
examples for true, but true examples in place of false. For why need I 
imagine a chasm in the earth, and an iron horse and a gold ring found on the 
fingers of a dead man; and say that such was the power of this ring, that he 
who wore it could appear at his own will, but if he did not wish to be seen, 
he could remove himself out of the sight of those who stood by, so as to 
seem to be away. This story, of course, is meant to answer the question 
whether a wise man, on getting the opportunity of using that ring so as to 
be able to hide his crimes, and to obtain a kingdom, — whether, I say, a 
wise man would be unwilling to sin and would consider the stain of sin far 
worse than the pains of punishment, or whether he would use it for doing 
wickedness in the hope of not being found out? Why, I say, should I need 
the pretense of a ring, when I can show from what has been done that a 
wise man, on seeing he would not only be undetected in his sin, but would 
also gain a kingdom if he gave way to it, and who, on the other hand, noted 
danger to his own safety if he did not commit the crime, yet chose to risk 
his own safety so as to be free from crime, rather than to commit the crime 
and so gain the kingdom. 

33. When David fled from the face of King Saul, because the king was 
seeking him in the desert with three thousand chosen men to put him to 
death, he entered the king's camp and found him sleeping. There he not 
only did him no injury, but actually guarded him from being slain by any 
who had entered with him. For when Abishai said to him: "The Lord hath 
delivered thine: enemy into thine hand this day, 'now therefore I will slay 
him," he answered: "Destroy him not, for who can stretch forth his hand 
against the Lord's anointed, and be guiltless?" And he added: "As the Lore 
liveth, unless the Lord shall smite him, or his day shall come to die, or he 
shall die in battle, and it be laid to me, the Lord forbid that I should stretch 
out my hand against the Lord's anointed." 

34. Therefore he did not suffer him to be slain, but removed only his spear, 
which stood by his head, and his cruse of water. Then, whilst all were 



217 

sleeping, he left the camp and went across to the top of the hill, and began 
to reproach the royal attendants, and especially their general Abner, for 
not keeping faithful watch over their Lord and king. Next, he showed them 
where the king's spear and cruse were which had stood at his head. And 
when the king called to him, he restored the spear, and said: "The Lord 
render to every man his righteousness and faithfulness, for the Lord 
delivered thee into my hand, but I would not avenge myself on the Lord's 
anointed." Even whilst he said this, he feared his plots and fled, changing 
his place in exile. However, he never put safety before innocency, seeing 
that when a second opportunity was given him of killing the king, he 
would not use the chance that came to him, and which put in his reach 
certain safety instead of fear, and a kingdom instead of exile. 

35. Where was the use of the ring in John's case, who would not have been 
put to death by Herod if he had kept silence? He could have kept silence 
before him so as to be both seen and yet not killed. But because he not 
only could not endure to sin himself to protect his own safety, but could 
not bear and endure even another' s sin, he brought about the cause of his 
own death. Certainly none can deny that he might have kept silence, who 
in the case of Gyges deny that he could have remained invisible by the 
help of the ring. 

36. But although that fable has not the force of truth, yet it has this much 
to go upon, that if an upright man could hide himself, yet he would avoid 
sin just as though he could not conceal himself; and that he would not hide 
his person by putting on a ring, but his life by putting on Christ. As the 
Apostle says: "Our life is hid with Christ in God." Let, then, no one here 
strive to shine, let none show pride, let none boast. Christ willed not to be 
known here, He would not that His Name should be preached in the 
Gospel whilst He lived on earth. He came to lie hid from this world. Let us 
therefore likewise hide our life after the example of Christ, let us shun 
boast-fullness, let us not desire to be made known. It is better to live here 
in humility, and there in glory. "When Christ," it says, "shall appear, then 
shall we also appear with Him in glory." 



218 
CHAPTER 6 



We ought not to allow the idea of profit to get hold of us. What 
excuses they make who get their gains by selling corn, and what 
answer ought to be made to them. In connection with this certain 
parables from the Gospels and some of the sayings of Solomon are 
set before our eyes. 

37. Let not, therefore, expediency get the better of virtue, but virtue of 
expediency. By expediency here I mean what is accounted so by people 
generally. Let love of money be destroyed, let lust die. The holy man says 
that he has never been engaged in business. For to get an increase in price is 
a sign not of simplicity but of cunning. Elsewhere it says: "He that seeketh 
a high price for his corn is cursed among the people." 

38. Plain and definite is the statement, leaving no room for debate, such as 
a disputatious kind of speaking is wont to give, when one maintains that 
agriculture is considered praiseworthy by all; that the fruits of the earth are 
easily grown; that the more a man has sown, the greater will be his meed of 
praise; further, that the richer returns of his active labors are not gained by 
fraud, and that carelessness and disregard for an uncultivated soil are wont 
to be blamed. 

39. 1 have ploughed, he says, carefully. I have sown freely. I have tilled 
actively. I have gathered good increase. I have stored it anxiously, saved it 
faithfully, and guarded it with care. Now in a time of famine I sell it, and 
come to the help of the hungry. I sell my own corn, not another's. And for 
no more than others, nay, even at a less price. What fraud is there here, 
when many would come to great danger if they had nothing to buy? Is 
industry to be made a crime? Or diligence to be blamed? Or foresight to be 
abused? Perhaps he may even say: Joseph collected corn in a time of 
abundance, and sold it when it was dear. Is any one forced to buy it at too 
dear a price? Is force employed against the buyer? The opportunity to buy 
is afforded to all, injury is inflicted on none. 

40. When this has been said, and one man's ideas have carried him so far, 
another rises and says: Agriculture is good indeed, for it supplies fruits for 



219 

all, and by simple industry adds to the richness of the earth without any 
cheating or fraud. If there is any error, the loss is the greater, for the better 
a man sows, the better he will reap. If he has sown the pure grain of wheat, 
he gathers a purer and cleaner harvest. The fruitful earth returns what she 
has received in manifold measure. A good field returns its produce with 
interest. 

41. Thou must expect payment for thy labor from the crops of the fruitful 
land, and must hope for a just return from the fruitfulness of the rich earth. 
Why dost thou use the industry of nature and make a cheat of it? Why 
dost thou grudge for the use of men what is grown for all? Why lessen the 
abundance for the people? Why make want thy aim? Why make the poor 
long for a barren season? For when they do not feel the benefits of a 
fruitful season, because thou art putting up the price, and art storing up 
the corn, they would far rather that nothing should be produced, than that 
thou shouldst do business at the expense of other people's hunger. Thou 
makest much of the want of corn, the small supply of food. Thou groanest 
over the rich crops of the soil; thou mournest the general plenty, and 
bewailest the garners full of corn; thou art on the lookout to see when the 
crop is poor and the harvest fails. Thou rejoicest that a curse has smiled 
upon thy wishes, so that none should have their produce. Then thou 
rejoicest that thy harvest has come. Then thou collectest wealth from the 
misery of all, and callest this industry and diligence, when it is but cunning 
shrewdness and an adroit trick of the trade. Thou callest it a remedy, when 
it is but a wicked contrivance. Shall I call this robbery or only gain? These 
opportunities are seized as though seasons for plunder, wherein, like some 
cruel waylayer, thou mayest fall upon the stomachs of men. The price 
rises higher as though by the mere addition of interest, but the danger to 
life is increased too. For then the interest of the stored-up crops grows 
higher. As a usurer thou hidest up thy corn, as a seller thou puttest it up 
for auction. Why dost thou wish evil to all, because the famine will grow 
worse, as though no corn should be left, as though a more unfruitful year 
should follow? Thy gain is the public loss. 

42. Holy Joseph opened the garners to all; he did not shut them up. He did 
not try to get the full price of the year's produce, but assigned it for a 
yearly payment. He took nothing for himself, but, so far as famine could 
be checked for the future, he made his arrangements with careful foresight. 



220 

43. Thou hast read how the Lord Jesus in the Gospel speaks of that 
corn-dealer who was looking out for a high price, whose possessions 
brought him in rich fruits, but who, as though still in need, said: "What 
shall I do? I have no room where to bestow my goods. I will pull down my 
barns and build greater," though he could not know whether in the 
following night his soul would not be demanded of him. He knew not what 
to do, he seemed to be in doubt, just as though he were in want of food. 
His barns could not take in the year' s supply, and yet he thought he was 
in need. 

44. Rightly, therefore, Solomon says: "He that withholdeth corn shall 
leave it for the nations," not for his heirs, for the gains of avarice have 
nothing to do with the rights of succession. That which is not rightfully 
got together is scattered as though by a wind by outsiders that seize it. 
And he added: "He who graspeth at the year's produce is cursed among 
the people, but blessing shall be his that imparteth it." Thou seest, then, 
what is said of him who distributes the corn, but not of him that seeks for 
a high price. True expediency does not therefore exist where virtue loses 
more than expediency gains. 



221 

CHAPTER 7 

Strangers must never be expelled the city in a time of famine. In this 
matter the noble advice of a Christian sage is adduced, in contrast to 
which the shameful deed committed at Rome is given. By comparing 
the two it is shown that the former is combined with what is virtuous 
and useful, but the latter with neither. 

45. But they, too, who would forbid the city to strangers cannot have our 
approval. They would expel them at the very time when they ought to 
help, and separate them from the trade of their common parent. They 
would refuse them a share in the produce meant for all, and avert the 
intercourse that has already begun; and they are unwilling, in a time of 
necessity, to give those with whom they have enjoyed their rights in 
common, a share in what they themselves have. Beasts do not drive out 
beasts, yet man shuts out man. Wild beasts and animals consider food 
which the earth supplies to be common to all. They all give assistance to 
those like themselves; and man, who ought to think nothing human foreign 
to himself, fights against his own. 

46. How much better did he act who, having already reached an advanced 
age, when the city was suffering from famine, and, as is common in such 
cases, the people demanded that strangers should be forbidden the city, 
having the office of the prefectship of the city, which is higher than the 
rest, called together the officials and richer men, and demanded that they 
should take counsel for the public welfare. He said that it was as cruel a 
thing for the strangers to be expelled as for one man to be cast off by 
another, and to be refused food when dying. We do not allow our dogs to 
come to our table and leave them unfed, yet we shut out a man. How 
unprofitable, again, it is for the world that so many people perish, whom 
some deadly plague carries off. How unprofitable for their city that so 
large a number should perish, who were wont to be helpful either in paying 
contributions or in carrying on business. Another's hunger is profitable to 
no man, nor to put off the day of help as long as possible and to do 
nothing to check the want. Nay more, when so many of the cultivators of 
the soil are gone, when so many laborers are dying, the corn supplies will 



222 

fail for the future. Shall we then expel those who are wont to supply us 
with food, are we unwilling to feed in a time of need those who have fed us 
all along? How great is the assistance which they supply even at this time. 
"Not by bread alone does man live." They are even our own family; many 
of them even are our own kindred. Let us make some return for what we 
have received. 

47. But perhaps we fear that want may increase. First of all, I answer, 
mercy never fails, but always finds means of help. Next, let us make up for 
the corn supplies which are to be granted to them, by a subscription. Let 
us put that right with our gold. And, again, must we not buy other 
cultivators of the soil if we lose these? How much cheaper is it to feed 
than to buy a working-man. Where, too, can one obtain, where find a man 
to take the place of the former? And suppose one finds him, do not forget 
that, with an ignorant man used to different ways, one may fill up the 
place in point of numbers, but not as regards the work to be done. 

48. Why need I say more? When the money was supplied corn was 
brought in. So the city's abundance was not diminished, and yet assistance 
was given to the strangers. What praise this act won that holy man from 
God! What glory among men! He, indeed, had won an honored name, who, 
pointing to the people of a whole province, could truly say to the 
emperor: All these I have preserved for thee; these live owing to the 
kindness of the senate; these thy council has snatched from death! 

49. How much more expedient was this than that which was done lately at 
Rome. There from that widely extended city were those expelled who had 
already passed most of their life in it. In tears they went forth with their 
children, for whom as being citizens they bewailed the exile, which, as they 
said, ought to be averted; no less did they grieve over the broken bonds of 
union, the severed ties of relationship. And yet a fruitful year had smiled 
upon us. The city alone needed corn to be brought into it. It could have got 
help, if it had sought corn from the Italians whose children they were 
driving out. Nothing is more shameful than to expel a man as a foreigner, 
and yet to claim his services as though he belonged to us. How canst thou 
expel a man who lives on his own produce? How canst thou expel him 
who supplies thee with food? Thou retainest thy servant, and thrustest 



223 

out thy kindred! Thou takest the corn, but showest no good feeling! Thou 
takest food by force, but dost not show gratitude! 

50. How wretched this is, how useless! For how can that be expedient 
which is not seemly. Of what great supplies from her corporations has 
Rome at times been deprived, yet she could not dismiss them and yet 
escape a famine, while waiting for a favorable breeze, and the provisions in 
the hoped-for ships. 

5 1 . How far more virtuous and expedient was that first- mentioned 
management! For what is so seemly or virtuous as when the needy are 
assisted by the gifts of the rich, when food is supplied to the hungry, 
when daily bread fails none? What so advantageous as when the cultivators 
are kept for the land, and the country people do not perish? 

52. What is virtuous, then, is also expedient, and what is expedient is 
virtuous. On the other hand, what is not expedient is unseemly, and what 
is unseemly is also not expedient. 



224 

CHAPTER 8 



That those who put what is virtuous before what is useful are 
acceptable to God is shown by the example of Joshua, Caleb, and the 
other spies. 

53. When could our fathers ever have thrown off their servitude, unless 
they had believed that it was not only shameful but even useless to serve 
the king of Egypt? 

54. Joshua, also, and Caleb, when sent to spy out the land, brought back 
the news that the land was indeed rich, but that it was inhabited by very 
fierce nations. The people, terrified at the thought of war, refused to take 
possession of their land. Joshua and Caleb, who had been sent as spies, 
tried to persuade them that the land was fruitful. They thought it 
unseemly to give way before the heathen; they chose rather to be stoned, 
which is what the people threatened, than to recede from their virtuous 
standpoint. The others kept dissuading, the people exclaimed against it. 
saying they would have to fight against cruel and terrible nations; that they 
would fall in battle, and their wives and children would be left for a prey. 

55. The anger of the Lord burst forth, so that He would kill all, but at the 
prayer of Moses He softened His judgment and put off His vengeance, 
knowing that He had already sufficiently punished those who were 
faithless, even if He spared them meanwhile and did not slay the 
unbelievers. However, He said they should not come to that land which 
they had refused, as a penalty for their unbelief; but their children and 
wives, who had not murmured, and who, owing to their sex and age, were 
guiltless, should receive the promised inheritance of that land. So the 
bodies of those of twenty years old and upwards fell in the desert. The 
punishment of the rest was put aside. But they who had gone up with 
Joshua, and had thought fit to dissuade the people, died forthwith of a 
great plague. Joshua and Caleb entered the land of promise together with 
those who were innocent by reason of age or sex. 

56. The better part, therefore, preferred glory to safety; the worse part 
safety to virtue. But the divine judgment approved those who thought 



225 

virtue was above what is useful, whilst it condemned those who preferred 
what seemed more in accordance with safety than with what is virtuous. 



226 

CHAPTER 9 



Cheating and dishonest ways of making money are utterly unfit for 
clerics whose duty is to serve all. They ought never to be involved in 
a money affair, unless it is one affecting a man's life. For them the 
example of David is given, that they should injure none, even when 
provoked; also the death of Naboth, to keep them from preferring 
life to virtue. 

57. Nothing is more odious than for a man to have no love for a virtuous 
life, but instead to be kept excited by an unworthy business in following 
out a low line of trade, or to be inflamed by an avaricious heart, and by day 
and by night to be eager to damage another's property, not to raise the 
soul to the splendor of a virtuous life, and not to regard the beauty of true 
praise. 

58. Hence rise inheritances sought by cunning words and gained under 
pretense of being self-restrained and serious. But this is absolutely 
abhorrent to the idea of a Christian man. For everything gained by craft 
and got together by cheating loses the merit of openness. Even amongst 
those who have undertaken no duty in the ranks of the clergy it is 
considered unfitting to seek for the inheritance of another. Let those who 
are reaching the end of their life use their own judgment, so that they may 
freely make their wills as they think best, since they will not be able to 
amend them later. For it is not honorable to divert the savings that belong 
to others or have been got together for them. It is further the duty of the 
priest or the cleric to be of use if possible to all and to be harmful to none. 

59. If it is not possible to help one without injuring another, it is better to 
help neither than to press hard upon one. Therefore it is not a priest's 
duty to interfere in money affairs. For here it must often happen that he 
who loses his case receives harm; and then he considers that he has been 
worsted through the action of the intervener. It is a priest's duty to hurt 
no one, to be ready to help all. To be able to do this is in God's power 
alone. In a case of life and death, without doubt it is a grave sin to injure 
him whom one ought to help when in danger. But it is foolish to gain 



227 

others' hate in taking up money matters, though for the sake of a man's 
safety great trouble and toil may often be undertaken. It is glorious in such 
a case to run risks. Let, then, this be firmly held to in the priestly duties, 
namely, to injure none, not even when provoked and embittered by some 
injury. Good was the man who said: "If I have rewarded evil to those who 
did me good." For what glory is it if we do not injure him who has not 
injured us? But it is true virtue to forgive when injured. 

60. What a virtuous action was that, when David wished rather to spare 
the king his enemy, though he could have injured him! How useful, too, it 
was, for it helped him when he succeeded to the throne. For all learnt to 
observe faith to their king and not to seize the kingdom, but to fear and 
reverence him. Thus what is virtuous was preferred to what was useful, 
and then usefulness followed on what was virtuous. 

61. But that he spared him was a small matter; he also grieved for him 
when slain in war, and mourned for him with tears, saying: "Ye mountains 
of Gilboa, let neither dew nor rain fall upon you; ye mountains of death, 
for there the shield of the mighty is cast away, the shield of Saul. It is not 
anointed with oil, but with the blood of the wounded and the fat of the 
warriors. The bow of Jonathan turned not back and the sword of Saul 
returned not empty. Saul and Jonathan were lovely and very dear, 
inseparable in life, and in death they were not divided. They were swifter 
than eagles, they were stronger than lions. Ye daughters of Israel, weep 
over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet with your ornaments, who put on 
gold upon your apparel. How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the 
battle! Jonathan was wounded even to death. I am distressed for thee, my 
brother Jonathan; very pleasant hast thou been unto me. Thy love came to 
me like the love of women. How have the mighty fallen and the longed-for 
weapons perished! 

62. What mother could weep thus for her only son as he wept here for his 
enemy? Who could follow his benefactor with such praise as that with 
which he followed the man who plotted against his life? How 
affectionately he grieved, with what deep feeling he bewailed him! The 
mountains dried up at the prophet's curse, and a divine power filled the 
judgment of him who spoke it. Therefore the elements themselves paid the 
penalty for witnessing the king's death. 



228 

63. And what, in the case of holy Naboth, was the cause of his death, 
except his regard for a virtuous life? For when the king demanded the 
vineyard from him, promising to give him money, he refused the price for 
his father' s heritage as unseemly, and preferred to shun such shame by 
dying. "The Lord forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my 
fathers unto thee;" that is, that such reproach may not fall on me, that God 
may not allow such wickedness to be attained by force. He is not speaking 
about the vines — nor has God care for vines or plots of ground — but he 
says it of his fathers' rights. He could have received another or the king's 
vineyards and been his friend, wherein men think there is no small 
usefulness so far as this world is concerned. But because it was base he 
thought it could not be useful, and so he preferred to endure danger with 
honor intact, rather than gain what was useful to his own disgrace. I am 
here again speaking of what is commonly understood as useful, not that in 
which there is the grace of virtuous life. 

64. The king could himself have taken it by force, but that he thought too 
shameless; then when Naboth was dead he grieved. The Lord also declared 
that the woman's cruelty should be punished by a fitting penalty, because 
she was unmindful of virtue and preferred a shameful gain. 

65. Every kind of unfair action is shameful. Even in common things, false 
weights and unjust measures are accursed. And if fraud in the market or in 
business is punished, can it seem free from reproach if found in the midst 
of the performance of the duties of virtue? Solomon says: "A great and a 
little weight and divers measures are an abomination before the Lord." 
Before that it also says: "A false balance is abomination to the Lord, but a 
just weight is acceptable to Him. " 



229 

CHAPTER 10 



We are warned not only in civil law, but also in the holy Scriptures, 
to avoid fraud in every agreement, as is clear from the example of 
Joshua and the Gibeonites. 

6 6 . In everything, therefore, good faith is seemly, justice is pleasing, due 
measure in equity is delightful. But what shall I say about contracts, and 
especially about the sale of land, or agreements, or covenants? Are there 
not rules just for the purpose of shutting out all false deceit, and to make 
him whose deceit is found out liable to double punishment? Everywhere, 
then, does regard for what is virtuous take the lead; it shuts out deceit, it 
expels fraud. Wherefore the prophet David has rightly stated his judgment 
in general, saying: "He hath done no evil to his neighbor." Fraud, then, 
ought to be wanting not only in contracts, in which the defects of those 
things which are for sale are ordered to be recorded (which contracts, 
unless the vendor has mentioned the defects, are rendered void by an 
action for fraud, although he has conveyed them fully to the purchaser), 
but it ought also to be absent in all else. Can-dour must be shown, the 
truth must be made known. 

67. The divine Scriptures have plainly stated (not indeed a legal rule of the 
lawyers but) the ancient judgment of the patriarchs on deceit, in that book 
of the Old Testament which is ascribed to Joshua the son of Nun. When 
the report had gone forth among the various peoples that the sea was dried 
up at the crossing of the Hebrews; that water had flowed from the rock; 
that food was supplied daily from heaven in quantities large enough for so 
many thousands of the people; that the walls of Jericho had fallen at the 
sound of the holy trumpets, being overthrown by the noise of the shouts 
of the people; also, that the king of Ai was conquered and had been hung 
on a tree until the evening; then the Gibeonites, fearing his strong hand, 
came with guile, pretending that they were from a land very far away, and 
by traveling so long had rent their shoes and worn out their clothing, of 
which they showed proofs that it was growing old. They said, too, that 
their reason for undergoing so much labor was their desire to obtain peace 
and to form friendship with the Hebrews, and began to ask Joshua to form 



230 

an alliance with them. And he, being as yet ignorant of localities, and not 
knowing anything of the inhabitants, did not see through their deceit, nor 
did he enquire of God, but readily believed them. 

68. So sacred was one's plighted word held in those days that no one 
would believe that others could try to deceive. Who could find fault with 
the saints in this, namely, that they should consider others to have the 
same feelings as themselves, and suppose no one would lie because truth 
was their own companion? They know not what deceit is, they gladly 
believe of others what they themselves are, whilst they cannot suspect 
others to be what they themselves are not. Hence Solomon says: "An 
innocent man believeth every word." We must not blame his readiness to 
believe, but should rather praise his goodness. To know nothing of aught 
that may injure another, this is to be innocent. And although he is cheated 
by another, still he thinks well of all, for he thinks there is good faith in all. 

69. Induced, therefore, by such considerations to believe them, he made an 
agreement, he gave them peace, and formed a union with them. But when 
he came to their country and the deceit was found out, — for though they 
lived quite close they pretended to be strangers, — the people of our 
fathers began to be angry at having been deceived. Joshua, however, 
thought the peace they had made could not be broken (for it had been 
confirmed by an oath), for fear that, in punishing the treachery of others, 
he should, be breaking his own pledge. He made them pay the penalty, 
however, by forcing them to undertake the lowest kind of work. The 
judgment was mild indeed, but it was a lasting one, for in their duties there 
abides the punishment of their ancient cunning, handed down to this day in 
their hereditary service. 



231 
CHAPTER 11 



Having adduced examples of certain frauds found in a few passages 
of the rhetoricians, he shows that these and all others are more fully 
and plainly condemned in Scripture. 

70.1 shall say nothing of the snapping of fingers, or the naked dancing of 
the heir, at entering on an inheritance. These are well-known things. Nor 
will I speak of the mass of fishes gathered up at a pretended fishing 
expedition to excite the buyer's desires. For why did he show himself so 
eager for luxuries and delicacies as to allow a fraud of this character? 

7 1 . What need is there for me to speak of that well-known story of the 
pleasant and quiet retreat at Syracuse and of the cunning of a Sicilian? For 
he having found a stranger, and knowing that he was anxious to buy an 
estate, asked him to his grounds for a meal. He accepted, and on the 
following day he came. There the sight of a great number of fishermen met 
his eyes, and a banquet laid out in the most splendid profusion. In the 
sight of the guests, fishers were placed in the garden-grounds, where no net 
had ever been laid before. Each one in turn presented to the guests what he 
had taken, the fish were placed upon the table, and caught the glance of 
those who sat there. The stranger wondered at the large quantity of fish 
and the number of boats there were. The answer given was, that this was 
the great water supply, and that great numbers of fish came there because 
of the sweetness of the water. To be brief, he drew on the stranger to be 
urgent in getting the grounds, he willingly allows himself to be induced to 
sell them, and seemingly with a heavy heart he receives the money. 

72. On the next day the purchaser comes to the grounds with his friends, 
but finds no boat there. On asking whether perhaps the fishermen were 
observing a festival on that day, he is told that, with the exception of 
yesterday, they were never wont to fish there; but what power had he to 
proceed against such a fraud, who had so shamefully grasped at such 
luxuries? For he who convicts another of a fault ought himself to be free 
from it. I will not therefore include such trifles as these under the power of 
ecclesiastical censure, for that altogether condemns every desire for 



232 

dishonorable gain, and briefly, with few words, forbids every sharp and 
cunning action. 

73. And what shall I say of him who claims to be the heir or legatee, on the 
proof of a will which, though falsified by others, yet was known to be so 
by him, and who tries to make again through another' s crime, though even 
the laws of the state convict him who knowingly makes use of a false will, 
as guilty of a wrong action. But the law of justice is plain, namely, that a 
good man ought not to go aside from the truth, nor to inflict an unjust loss 
on any one, nor to act at all deceitfully or to take part in any fraud. 

74. What is clearer, however, on this point than the case of Ananias? He 
acted falsely as regards the price he got for his land, for he sold it and laid 
at the apostles' feet part of the price, pretending it was the whole amount. 
For this he perished as guilty of fraud. He might have offered nothing and 
have acted so without committing a fraud. But as deceit entered into his 
action, he gained no favor for his liberality, but paid the penalty for his 
artifice. 

75. The Lord also in the Gospel rejected those coming to Him with guile, 
saying: "The foxes have holes," for He bids us live in simplicity and 
innocency of heart. David also says: "Thou hast used deceit as a sharp 
razor," pointing out by this the treacherous man, just as an implement of 
this kind is used to help adorn a man, yet often wounds him. If any one 
makes a show of favor and yet plans deceit after the example of the traitor, 
so as to give up to death him whom he ought to guard, let him be looked on 
in the light of that instrument which is wont to wound owing to the vice of 
a drunken mind and a trembling hand. Thus that man drunk with the wine 
of wickedness brought death on the high priest Ahimelech, through a 
terrible act of treachery, because he had received the prophet with 
hospitality when the king, roused by the stings of envy, was following 
him. 



233 

CHAPTER 12 

We may make no promise that is wrong, and if we have made an 
unjust oath, we may not keep it. It is shown that Herod sinned in this 
respect. The vow taken by Jephtha is condemned, and so are all 
others which God does not desire to have paid to Him. Lastly, the 
daughter of Jephtha is compared with the two Pythagoreans and is 
placed before them. 

76. A man's disposition ought to be undefiled and sound, so that he may 
utter words without dissimulation and possess his vessel in sanctification; 
that he may not delude his brother with false words nor promise aught 
dishonorable. If he has made such a promise it is far better for him not to 
fulfill it, rather than to fulfill what is shameful. 

77. Often people bind themselves by a solemn oath, and, though they 
come to know that they ought not to have made the promise, fulfill it in 
consideration of their oath. This is what Herod did, as we mentioned 
before. For he made a shameful promise of reward to a dancer — and 
cruelly performed it. It was shameful, for a kingdom was promised for a 
dance; and it was cruel, for the death of a prophet is sacrificed for the sake 
of an oath. How much better perjury would have been than the keeping of 
such an oath, if indeed that could be called perjury which a drunkard had 
sworn to in his wine-cups, or an effeminate profligate had promised whilst 
the dance was going on. The prophet's head was brought in on a dish, and 
this was considered an act of good faith when it really was an act of 
madness! 

78. Never shall I be led to believe that the leader Jephtha made his vow 
otherwise than without thought, when he promised to offer to God 
whatever should meet him at the threshold of his house on his return. For 
he repented of his vow, as afterwards his daughter came to meet him. He 
rent his clothes and said: "Alas, my daughter, thou hast entangled me, thou 
art become a source of trouble unto me." And though with pious fear and 
reverence he took upon himself the bitter fulfillment of his cruel task, yet 
he ordered and left to be observed an annual period of grief and mourning 



234 

for future times. It was a hard vow, but far more bitter was its fulfillment, 
whilst he who carried it out had the greatest cause to mourn. Thus it 
became a rule and a law in Israel from year to year, as it says: "that the 
daughters of Israel went to lament the daughter of Jephtha the Gileadite 
four days in a year." I cannot blame the man for holding it necessary to 
fulfill his vow, but yet it was a wretched necessity which could only be 
solved by the death of his child. 

79. It is better to make no vow than to vow what God does not wish to be 
paid to Him to Whom the promise was made. In the case of Isaac we have 
an example, for the Lord appointed a ram to be offered up instead of him. 
Therefore it is not always every promise that is to be fulfilled. Nay, the 
Lord Himself often alters His determination, as the Scriptures point out. 
For in the book called Numbers He had declared that He would punish the 
people with death and destroy them, but afterwards, when besought by 
Moses, He was reconciled again to them. And again, He said to Moses and 
Aaron: "Separate yourselves from among this congregation that I may 
consume them in a moment." And when they separated from the assembly 
the earth suddenly clave asunder and opened her mouth and swallowed up 
Dathan and Abiram. 

80. That example of Jephtha' s daughter is far more glorious and ancient 
than that of the two Pythagoreans, which is accounted so notable among 
the philosophers. One of these, when condemned to death by the tyrant 
Dionysius, and when the day of his death was fixed, asked for leave to be 
granted him to go home, so as to provide for his family. But for fear that 
he might break his faith and not return, he offered a surety for his own 
death, on condition that if he himself were absent on the appointed day, 
his surety would be ready to die in his stead. The other did not refuse the 
conditions of suretyship which were proposed and awaited the day of 
death with a calm mind. So the one did not withdraw himself and the other 
returned on the day appointed. This all seemed so wonderful that the 
tyrant sought their friendship whose destruction he had been anxious for. 

81. What, then, in the case of esteemed and learned men is full of marvel, 
that in the case of a virgin is found to be far more splendid, far more 
glorious, as she says to her sorrowing father: "Do to me according to that 
which hath proceeded out of thy mouth." But she asked for a delay of two 



235 

months in order that she might go about with her companions upon the 
mountains to bewail fitly and dutifully her virginity now given up to 
death. The weeping of her companions did not move her, their grief 
prevailed not upon her, nor did their lamentations hold her back. She 
allowed not the day to pass, nor did the hour escape her notice. She 
returned to her father as though returning according to her own desire, and 
of her own will urged him on when he was hesitating, and acted thus of her 
own free choice, so that what was at first an awful chance became a pious 
sacrifice. 



236 
CHAPTER 13 



Judith, after enduring many dangers for virtue's sake, gained very 
many and great benefits. 

82. See! Judith presents herself to thee as worthy of admiration. She 
approaches Holophernes, a man feared by the people, and surrounded by 
the victorious troops of the Assyrians. At first she makes an impression 
on him by the grace of her form and the beauty of her countenance. Then 
she entraps him by the refinement of her speech. Her first triumph was 
that she returned from the tent of the enemy with her purity unspotted. 
Her second, that she gained a victory over a man, and put to flight the 
people by her counsel. 

83. The Persians were terrified at her daring. And so what is admired in the 
case of those two Pythagoreans deserves also in her case our admiration, 
for she trembled not at the danger of death, nor even at the danger her 
modesty was in, which is a matter of greater concern to good women. She 
feared not the blow of one scoundrel, nor even the weapons of a whole 
army. She, a woman, stood between the lines of the combatants — right 
amidst victorious arms — heedless of death. As one looks at her 
overwhelming danger, one would say she went out to die; as one looks at 
her faith, one says she went but out to fight. 

84. Judith then followed the call of virtue, and as she follows that, she 
wins great benefits. It was virtuous to prevent the people of the Lord from 
giving themselves up to the heathen; to prevent them from betraying their 
native rites and mysteries, or from yielding up their consecrated virgins, 
their venerable widows, and modest matrons to barbarian impurity, or 
from ending the siege by a surrender. It was virtuous for her to be willing 
to encounter danger on behalf of all, so as to deliver all from danger. 

85. How great must have been the power of her virtue, that she, a woman, 
should claim to give counsel on the chiefest matters and not leave it in the 
hands of the leaders of the people! How great, again, the power of her 
virtue to reckon for certain upon God to help her! How great her grace to 
find His help! 



237 

CHAPTER 14 



How virtuous and useful was that which Elisha did. This is compared 
with that oft-recounted act of the Greeks. John gave up his life for 
virtue's sake, and Susanna for the same reason exposed herself to 
the danger of death. 

8 6 . W hat did Elisha follow but virtue, when he brought the army of Syria 
who had come to take him as captive into Samaria, after having covered 
their eyes with blindness? Then he said: "O Lord, open their eyes that 
they may see." And they saw. But when the king of Israel wished to slay 
those that had entered and asked the prophet to give him leave to do so, he 
answered that they whose captivity was not brought about by strength of 
hand or weapons of war must not be slain, but that rather he should help 
them by supplying food. Then they were refreshed with plenty of food. 
And after that those Syrian robbers thought they must never again return 
to the land of Israel. 

87. How much nobler was this than that which the Greeks once did! For 
when two nations strove one with the other to gain glory and supreme 
power, and one of them had the opportunity to burn the ships of the other 
secretly, they thought it a shameful thing to do so, and preferred to gain a 
less advantage honorably than a greater one in shameful wise. They, 
indeed, could not act thus without disgrace to themselves, and entrap by 
this plot those who had banded together for the sake of ending the Persian 
war. Though they could deny it in word, yet they could never but blush at 
the thought of it. Elisha, however, wished to save, not destroy, those who 
were deceived indeed, though not by some foul act, and had been struck 
blind by the power of the Lord. For it was seemly to spare an enemy, and 
to grant his life to an adversary when indeed he could have taken it, had he 
not spared it. 

88. It is plain, then, that whatever is seemly is always useful. For holy 
Judith by seemly disregard for her own safety put an end to the dangers of 
the siege, and by her own virtue won what was useful to all in common. 
And Elisha gained more renown by pardoning than he would have done by 



238 

slaying, and preserved those enemies whom he had taken for greater 
usefulness. 

89. And what else did John have in mind but what is virtuous, so that he 
could not endure a wicked union even in the king's case, saying: "It is not 
lawful for thee to have her to wife." He could have been silent, had he not 
thought it unseemly for himself not to speak the truth for fear of death, or 
to make the prophetic office yield to the king, or to indulge in flattery. He 
knew well that he would die as he was against the king, but he preferred 
virtue to safety. Yet what is more expedient than the suffering which 
brought glory to the saint. 

90. Holy Susanna, too, when threatened with the fear of false witness, 
seeing herself hard pressed on one side by danger, on the other by disgrace, 
preferred to avoid disgrace by a virtuous death rather than to endure and 
live a shameful life in the desire to save herself. So while she fixed her mind 
on virtue, she also preserved her life. But if she had preferred what seemed 
to her to be useful to preserve life, she would never have gained such great 
renown, nay, perhaps-and that would have been not only useless but even 
dangerous — she might even not have escaped the penalty for her crime. 
We note, therefore, that whatsoever is shameful cannot be useful, nor, 
again, can that which is virtuous be useless. For usefulness is ever the 
double of virtue, and virtue of usefulness. 



239 
CHAPTER 15 



After mentioning a noble action of the Romans, the writer shows 
from the deeds of Moses that he had the greatest regard for what is 
virtuous. 

91. It is related as a memorable deed of a Roman general, that when the 
physician of a hostile king came to him and promised to give him poison, 
he sent him back bound to the enemy. In truth, it is a noble thing for a man 
to refuse to gain the victory by foul acts, after he has entered on the 
struggle for power. He did not consider virtue to lie in victory, but declared 
that to be a shameful victory unless it was gained with honor. 

92. Let us return to our hero Moses, and to loftier deeds, to show they 
were both superior as well as earlier. The king of Egypt would not let the 
people of our fathers go, Then Moses bade the priest Aaron to stretch his 
rod over all the waters of Egypt. Aaron stretched it out, and the water of 
the river was turned into blood. None could drink the water, and all the 
Egyptians were perishing with thirst; but there was pure water flowing in 
abundance for the fathers. They sprinkled ashes toward heaven, and sores 
and burning boils came upon man and beast. They brought down hail 
mingled with flaming fire, and all things were destroyed upon the land. 
Moses prayed, and all things were restored to their former beauty. The 
hail ceased, the sores were healed, the rivers gave their wonted draught. 

93. Then, again, the land was covered with thick darkness for the space of 
three days, because Moses had raised his hand and spread out the 
darkness. All the first-born of Egypt died, whilst all the offspring of the 
Hebrews was left unharmed. Moses was asked to put an end to these 
horrors, and he prayed and obtained his request. In the one case it was a 
fact worthy of praise that he checked himself from joining in deceit; in the 
other it was noteworthy how, by his innate goodness, he turned aside from 
the foe those divinely ordered punishments. He was indeed, as it is 
written, gentle and meek. He knew that the king would not keep true to his 
promises, yet he thought it right and good to pray when asked to do so, to 
bless when wronged, to forgive when besought. 



240 

94. He cast down his rod and it became a serpent which devoured the 
serpents of Egypt; this signifying that the Word should become Flesh to 
destroy the poison of the dread serpent by the forgiveness and pardon of 
sins. For the rod stands for the Word that is true — royal — filled with 
power — and glorious in ruling. The rod became a serpent; so He Who 
was the Son of God begotten of the Father became the Son of man born of 
a woman, and lifted, like the serpent, on the cross, poured His healing 
medicine on the wounds of man. Wherefore the Lord Himself says: "As 
Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be 
lifted up." 

95. Again, another sign which Moses gave points to our Lord Jesus Christ. 
He put his hand into his bosom, and drew it out again, and his hand was 
become as snow. A second time he put it in and drew it out, and it was 
again like the appearance of human flesh. This signified first the original 
glory of the Godhead of the Lord Jesus, and then the assumption of our 
flesh, in which truth all nations and peoples must believe. So he put in his 
hand, for Christ is the right hand of God; and whosoever does not believe 
in His Godhead and Incarnation is punished as a sinner; like that king who, 
whilst not believing open and plain signs, yet afterwards, when punished, 
prayed that he might find mercy. How great, then, Moses' regard for 
virtue must have been is shown by these proofs, and especially by the fact 
that he offered himself on behalf of the people, praying that God would 
either forgive the people or blot him out of the book of the living. 



241 

CHAPTER 16 



After saying a few words about Tobit he demonstrates that Raguel 
surpassed the philosophers in virtue. 

9 6 . T obit also clearly portrayed in his life true virtue, when he left the 
feast and buried the dead, and invited the needy to the meals at his own 
poor table. And Raguel is a still brighter example. For he, in his regard for 
virtue, when asked to give his daughter in marriage, was not silent regarding 
his daughter's faults, for fear of seeming to get the better of the suitor by 
silence. So when Tobit the son of Tobias asked that his daughter might be 
given him, he answered that, according to the law, she ought to be given 
him as near of kin, but that he had already given her to six men, and all of 
them were dead. This just man, then, feared more for others than for 
himself, and wished rather that his daughter should remain unmarried than 
that others should run risks in consequence of their union with her. 

97. How simply he settled all the questions of the philosophers! They talk 
about the defects of a house, whether they ought to be concealed or made 
known by the vendor. Raguel was quite certain that his daughter' s faults 
ought not to be kept secret. And, indeed, he had not been eager to give her 
up — he was asked for her. We can have no doubt how much more nobly 
he acted than those philosophers, when we consider how much more 
important a daughter' s future is than some mere money affair. 



242 

CHAPTER 17 



With what virtuous feelings the fathers of old hid the sacred fires 
when on the point of going into captivity. 

98. Let us consider, again, that deed done at the time of the captivity, 
which has attained the highest degree of virtue and glory. Virtue is checked 
by no adversities, for it rises up among them, and prevails here rather than 
in prosperity. 'Mid chains or arms, 'mid flames or slavery (which is harder 
for freemen to bear than any punishment), 'midst the pains of the dying, 
the destruction of their country, the fears of the living, or the blood of the 
slain, — amidst all this our forefathers failed not in their care and thought 
for what is virtuous. Amidst the ashes and dust of their fallen country it 
glowed and shone forth brightly in pious efforts. 

99. For when our fathers were carried away into Persia, certain priests, 
who then were in the service of Almighty God, secretly buried in the 
valley the fire taken from the altar of the Lord. There was there an open 
pit, with no water in it, and not accessible for the wants of the people, in a 
spot unknown and free from intruders. There they sealed the hidden fire 
with the sacred mark and in secret. They were not anxious to bury gold or 
to hide up silver to preserve it for their children, but in their own great 
peril, thinking of all that was virtuous, they thought the sacred fire ought 
to be preserved so that impure men might not defile it, nor the blood of the 
slain extinguish it, nor the heaps of miserable ruins cover it. 

100. So they went to Persia, free only in their religion; for that alone could 
not be torn from them by their captivity. After a length of time, indeed, 
according to God's good pleasure, He put it into the Persian king's heart to 
order the temple in Judea to be restored, and the regular customs to be 
again rebuilt at Jerusalem. To carry out this work of his the Persian king 
appointed the priest Nehemiah. He took with him the grandchildren of 
those priests who on leaving their native soil had hidden the sacred fire to 
save it from perishing. But on arriving, as we are told in the history of the 
fathers, they found not fire but water. And when fire was wanting to burn 
upon the altars, the priest Nehemiah bade them draw the water, to bring it 



243 

to him, and to sprinkle it upon the wood. Then, O wondrous sight! though 
the sky had been overcast with clouds, suddenly the sun shone forth, a 
great fire flamed forth, so that all, wonder-stricken at such a clear sign of 
the favor of the Lord, were filled with joy. Nehemiah prayed; the priests 
sang a hymn of praise to God, when the sacrifice was completed. 
Nehemiah again bade the remainder of the water to be poured upon the 
larger stones. And when this was done a flame burst forth whilst the light 
shining from off the altar shone more brightly yet. 

101. When this sign became known, the king of Persia ordered a temple to 
be built on that spot where the fire had been hidden and the water 
afterwards found, to which many gifts were made. They who were with 
holy Nehemiah called it Naphthar, — which means cleansing — by many 
it is called Nephi. It is to be found also in the history of the prophet 
Jeremiah, that he bade those who should come after him to take of the fire. 
That is the fire which fell on Moses' sacrifice and consumed it, as it is 
written: "There came a fire out from the Lord and consumed upon the altar 
all the whole burnt-offering." The sacrifice must be hallowed with this fire 
only. Therefore, also, fire went out from the Lord upon the sons of Aaron 
who wished to offer strange fire, and consumed them, so that their dead 
bodies were cast forth without the camp. 

101. Jeremiah coming to a spot found there a house like a cave, and 
brought into it the tabernacle, the ark, and the altar of incense, and closed 
up the entrance. And when those who had come with him examined it 
rather closely to mark the spot, they could not discover nor find it. When 
Jeremiah understood what they wanted he said: "The spot will remain 
unknown until God shall gather His people together and be gracious to 
them. Then God shall reveal these things and the majesty of the Lord shall 
appear." 



244 

CHAPTER 18 



In the narration of that event already mentioned, and especially of 
the sacrifice offered by Nehemiah, is typified the Holy Spirit and 
Christian baptism. The sacrifice of Moses and Elijah and the history 
of Noah are also referred to the same. 

102. We form the congregation of the Lord. We recognize the propitiation 
of our Lord God, which our Propitiator wrought in His passion. I think, 
too, we cannot leave out of sight that fire when we read that the Lord 
Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit and with fire, as John said in his 
Gospel. Rightly was the sacrifice consumed, for it was for sin. But that 
fire was a type of the Holy Spirit Who was to come down after the Lord's 
ascension, and forgive the sins of all, and Who like fire inflames the mind 
and faithful heart. Wherefore Jeremiah, after receiving the Spirit, says: "It 
became in my heart as a burning fire flaming in my bones, and I am vile and 
cannot bear it." In the Acts of the Apostles, also, when the Holy Spirit 
descended upon the apostles and those others who were waiting for the 
Promise of the Father, we read that tongues as of fire were distributed 
among them. The soul of each one was so uplifted by His influence that 
they were supposed to be full of new wine, who instead had received the 
gift of a diversity of tongues. 

103. What else can this mean — namely, that fire became water and water 
called forth fire — but that spiritual grace burns out our sins through fire, 
and through water cleanses them? For sin is washed away and it is burnt 
away. Wherefore the Apostle says: "The fire shall try every man's work 
of what sort it is." And further on: "If any man's work shall be burned, he 
shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." 

104. This, then, we have stated, so as to prove that sins are burnt out by 
means of fire. We know now that this is in truth the sacred fire which then, 
as a type of the future remission of sins, came down upon the sacrifice. 

105. This fire is hidden in the time of captivity, during which sin reigns, 
but in the time of liberty it is brought forth. And though it is changed into 
the appearance of water, yet it preserves its nature as fire so as to 



245 

consume the sacrifice. Do not wonder when thou readest that God the 
Father said: "I am a consuming fire." And again: "They have forsaken Me, 
the fountain of living water." The Lord Jesus, too, like a fire inflamed the 
hearts of those who heard Him, and like a fount of waters cooled them. For 
He Himself said in His Gospel that He came to send fire on the earth and 
to supply a draught of living waters to those who thirst. 

106. In the time of Elijah, also, fire came down when he challenged the 
prophets of the heathen to light up the altar without fire. When they could 
not do so, he poured water thrice over his victim, so that the water ran 
round about the altar; then he cried out and the fire fell from the Lord from 
heaven and consumed the burnt-offering. 

107. Thou art that victim. Contemplate in silence each single point. The 
breath of the Holy Spirit descends on thee, He seems to burn thee when 
He consumes thy sins. The sacrifice which was consumed in the time of 
Moses was a sacrifice for sin, wherefore Moses said, as is written in the 
book of the Maccabees: "Because the sacrifice for sin was not to be eaten, 
it was consumed." Does it not seem to be consumed for thee when in the 
sacrament of baptism the whole outer man perishes? "Our old man is 
crucified," the Apostle exclaims. Herein, as the example of the fathers 
teaches us, the Egyptian is swallowed up — the Hebrew arises renewed 
by the Holy Spirit, as he also crossed the Red Sea dryshod — where our 
fathers were baptized in the cloud and in the sea. 

108. In the flood, too, in Noah's time all flesh died, though just Noah was 
preserved together with his family. Is not a man consumed when all that is 
mortal is cut off from life? The outer man is destroyed, but the inner is 
renewed. Not in baptism alone but also in repentance does this destruction 
of the flesh tend to the growth of the spirit, as we are taught on the 
Apostle's authority, when holy Paul says: "I have judged as though I were 
present him that hath so done this deed, to deliver him unto Satan for the 
destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of our Lord 
Jesus Christ." 

109. We seem to have made a somewhat lengthy digression for the sake of 
regarding this wonderful mystery, in desiring to unfold more fully this 



246 

sacrament which has been revealed to us, and which, indeed, is as full of 
virtue as it is full of religious awe. 



247 

CHAPTER 19 



The crime committed by the inhabitants of Gibeah against the wife 
of a certain Levite is related, and from the vengeance taken it is 
inferred how the idea of virtue must have filled the heart of those 
people of old. 

1 1 . W hat regard for virtue our forefathers had to avenge by a war the 
wrongs of one woman which had been brought on her by her violation at 
the hands of profligate men! Nay, when the people were conquered, they 
vowed that they would not give their daughters in marriage to the tribe of 
Benjamin! That tribe had remained without hope of posterity, had they 
not received leave of necessity to use deceit. And this permission does not 
seem to fail in giving fitting punishment for violation, since they were only 
allowed to enter on a union by a rape, and not through the sacrament of 
marriage. And indeed it was right that they who had broken another's 
intercourse should themselves lose their marriage rites. 

111. How full of pitiful traits is this story! A man, it says, a Levite, had 
taken to himself a wife, who I suppose was called a concubine from the 
word "concubitus." She some time afterwards, as is wont to happen, 
offended at certain things, betook herself to her father, and was with him 
four months. Then her husband arose and went to the house of his 
father-in-law, to reconcile himself with his wife, to win her back and take 
her home again. The woman ran to meet him and brought her husband into 
her father's house. 

1 12. The maiden's father rejoiced and went to meet him, and the man 
stayed with him three days, and they ate and rested. On the next day the 
Levite arose at daybreak, but was detained by his father-in-law, that he 
might not so quickly lose the pleasure of his company. Again on the next 
and the third day the maiden's father did not suffer his son-in-law to start, 
until their joy and mutual regard was complete. But on the seventh day, 
when it was already drawing to a close, after a pleasant meal, having urged 
the approach of the coming night, so as to make him think he ought to 



248 

sleep amongst friends rather than strangers, he was unable to keep him, 
and so let him go together with his daughter. 

113. When some little progress was made, though night was threatening to 
come on, and they were close by the town of the Jebusites, on the slave's 
request that his Lord should turn aside there, he refused, because it was 
not a city of the children of Israel. He meant to get as far as Gibeah, which 
was inhabited by the people of the tribe of Benjamin. But when they 
arrived there was no one to receive them with hospitality, except a stranger 
of advanced age — When he had looked upon them he asked the Levite: 
Whither goest thou and whence dost thou come? On his answering that he 
was traveling and was making for Mount Ephraim and that there was no 
one to take him in, the old man offered him hospitality and prepared a 
meal. 

114. And when they were satisfied and the tables were removed, vile men 
rushed up and surrounded the house. Then the old man offered these 
wicked men his daughter, a virgin, and the concubine with whom she 
shared her bed, only that violence might not be inflicted on his guest. But 
when reason did no good and violence prevailed, the Levite parted from his 
wife, and they knew her and abused her all that night. Overcome by this 
cruelty or by grief at her wrong, she fell at the door of their host where her 
husband had entered, and gave up the ghost, with the last effort of her life 
guarding the feelings of a good wife so as to preserve for her husband at 
least her mortal remains. 

1 15. When this became known (to be brief) almost all the people of Israel 
broke out into war. The war remained doubtful with an uncertain issue, but 
in the third engagement the people of Benjamin were delivered to the 
people of Israel, and being condemned by the divine judgment paid the 
penalty for their profligacy. The sentence, further, was that none of the 
people of the fathers should give his daughter in marriage to them. This 
was confirmed by a solemn oath. But relenting at having laid so hard a 
sentence on their brethren, they moderated their severity so as to give 
them in marriage those maidens that had lost their parents, whose fathers 
had been slain for their sins, or to give them the means of finding a wife by 
a raid. Because of the villainy of so foul a deed, they who have violated 
another's marriage rights were shown to be unworthy to ask for marriage. 



249 

But for fear that one tribe might perish from the people, they connived at 
the deceit. 

116. What great regard our forefathers had for virtue is shown by the fact 
that forty thousand men drew the sword against their brethren of the tribe 
of Benjamin in their desire to avenge the wrong done to modesty, for they 
would not endure the violation of chastity. And so in that war on both 
sides there fell sixty-five thousand warriors, whilst their cities were burnt. 
And when at first the people of Israel were defeated, yet unmoved by fear 
at the reverses of the war, they disregarded the sorrow the avenging of 
chastity cost them. They rushed into the battle ready to wash out with 
their own blood the stains of the crime that had been committed. 



250 
CHAPTER 20 



After the terrible siege of Samaria was ended in accordance with 
Elisha's prophecy, he relates what regard the four lepers showed for 
what was virtuous. 

1 1 7 . W hy need we wonder that the people of the Lord had regard for what 
was seemly and virtuous when even the lepers — as we read in the books 
of the Kings — showed concern for what is virtuous? 

1 18. There was a great famine in Samaria, for the army of the Syrians was 
besieging it. The king in his anxiety was making the round of the guards on 
the wails when a woman addressed him, saying: This woman persuaded 
me to give up my son — and I gave him up, and we boiled him and did eat 
him. And she promised that she would afterwards bring her son and that 
we should eat his flesh together, but now she hath hidden her son and will 
not bring him. The king was troubled because these women seemed to have 
fed not merely on human bodies, but on the bodies of their own children; 
and being moved by an example of such awful misery, threatened the 
prophet Elisha with death. For he believed it was in his power to break up 
the siege and to avert the famine; or else he was angry because the prophet 
had not allowed the king to smite the Syrians whom he had struck with 
blindness. 

1 19. Elisha sat with the elders at Bethel, and before the king's messenger 
came to him he said to the elders: "See ye how the son of that murderess 
hath sent to take away mine head?" Then the messenger entered and 
brought the king's command threatening instant danger to his life. Him the 
prophet answered: "To-morrow about this time shall a measure of fine 
flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel in the 
gate of Samaria." Then when the messenger sent by the king would not 
believe it, saying: "If the Lord would rain abundance of corn from heaven, 
not even so would that come about," Elisha said to him: "Because thou 
hast not believed, thou shall see it with thine eyes, but shall not eat of it." 

120. And suddenly in the camp of Syria was there heard, as it were, a 
sound of chariots and a loud noise of horses and the noise of a great host, 



251 

and the tumult of some vast battle. And the Syrians thought that the king 
of Israel had called to his help in the battle the king of Egypt and the king 
of the Amorites, and they fled at dawn leaving their tents, for they feared 
that they might be crushed by the sudden arrival of fresh foes, and would 
not be able to withstand the united forces of the kings. This was unknown 
in Samaria, for they dared not go out of the town, being overcome with fear 
and also being weak through hunger. 

121. But there were four lepers at the gate of the city to whom life was a 
misery, and to die would be gain. And they said one to another: "Behold 
we sit here and die. If we enter into the city, we shall die with hunger; if 
we remain here, there are no means of living at hand for us. Let us go to the 
Syrian camp, either they will quickly kill us or grant us the means of 
safety." So they went and entered into the camp, and behold, all was 
forsaken by the enemy. Entering the tents, first of all on finding food they 
satisfied their hunger, then they laid hold of as much gold and silver as 
they could. But whilst they were intent on the booty alone, they arranged 
to announce to the king that the Syrians had fled, for they thought this 
more virtuous than to withhold the information and keep for themselves 
the plunder gained by deceit. 

122. At this information the peoples went forth and plundered the Syrian 
camp. The supplies of the enemy produced an abundance, and brought 
about cheapness of corn according to the prophet's word: "A measure of 
fine flour for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel." In this 
rejoicing of the people, that officer on whose hand the king leaned died, 
being crushed and trodden under foot by the people as the crowds kept 
hurrying to go out or returned with great rejoicing. 



252 

CHAPTER 21 



Esther in danger of her life followed the grace of virtue; nay, even a 
heathen king did so, when death was threatened to a man most 
friendly to him, For friendship must ever be combined with virtue, as 
the examples of Jonathan and Ahimelech show. 

123. W hy did Queen Esther expose herself to death and not fear the wrath 
of a fierce king? Was it not to save her people from death, an act both 
seemly and virtuous? The king of Persia himself also, though fierce and 
proud, yet thought it seemly to show honor to the man who had given 
information about a plot which had been laid against himself, to save a free 
people from slavery, to snatch them from death, and not to spare him who 
had pressed on such unseemly plans. So finally he handed over to the 
gallows the man that stood second to himself, and whom he counted chief 
among all his friends, because he considered that he had dishonored him by 
his false counsels. 

124. For that commendable friendship which maintains virtue is to be 
preferred most certainly to wealth, or honors, or power. It is not wont to 
be preferred to virtue indeed, but to follow after it. So it was with 
Jonathan, s who for his affection's sake avoided not his father's 
displeasure nor the danger to his own safety. So, too, it was with 
Ahimelech, who, to preserve the duties of hospitality, thought he must 
endure death rather than betray his friend when fleeing. 



253 
CHAPTER 22 



Virtue must never be given up for the sake of a friend. If, however, 
one has to bear witness against a friend, it must be done with 
caution. Between friends what candor is needed in opening the 
heart, what magnanimity in suffering, what freedom in finding 
fault! Friendship is the guardian of virtues, which are not to be 
found but in men of like character. It must be mild in rebuking and 
averse to seeking its own advantage; whence it happens that true 
friends are scarce among the rich. What is the dignity of friendship? 
The treachery of a friend, as it is worse, so it is also more hateful 
than another's, as is recognized from the example of Judas and of 
Job's friends. 

1 25 . N othing, then, must be set before virtue; and that it may never be set 
aside by the desire for friendship, Scripture also gives us a warning on the 
subject of friendship. There are, indeed various questions raised among 
philosophers; for instance whether a man ought for the sake of a friend to 
plot against his country or not, so as to serve his friend? Whether it is right 
to break one's faith, and so aid and maintain a friend's advantage? 

126. And Scripture also says: "A maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow, so 
is a man that beareth false witness against his friend." But note what it 
adds. It blames not witness given against a friend, but false witness. For 
what if the cause of God or of one's country compels one to give witness? 
Ought friendship to take a higher place than our religion, or our love for 
our fellow-citizens? In these matters, however, true witness is required so 
that a friend may not be assailed by the treachery of a friend, by whose 
good faith he ought to be acquitted. A man, then, ought never to please a 
friend who desires evil, or to plot against one who is innocent. 

127. Certainly, if it is necessary to give witness, then, when one knows of 
any fault in a friend, one ought to rebuke him secretly — if he does not 
listen, one must do it openly. For rebukes are good, and often better than a 
silent friendship. Even if a friend thinks himself hurt, still rebuke him; and 
if the bitterness of the correction wounds his mind, still rebuke him and 



254 

fear not. "The wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of flatterers:" 
Rebuke, then, thy erring friend; forsake not an innocent one. For friendship 
ought to be steadfast s and to rest firm in true affection. We ought not to 
change our friends in childish fashion at some idle fancy. 

128. Open thy breast to a friend that he may be faithful to thee, and that 
thou mayest receive from him the delight of thy life. "For a faithful friend 
is the medicine of life and the grace of immortality." Give way to a friend 
as to an equal, and be not ashamed to be beforehand with thy friend in 
doing kindly duties. For friendship knows nothing of pride. So the wise 
man says: "Do not blush to greet a friend." Do not desert a friend in time 
of need, nor forsake him nor fail him, for friendship is the support of life. 
Let us then bear our burdens as the Apostle has taught: for he spoke to 
those whom the charity of the same one body had embraced together. If 
friends in prosperity help friends, why do they not also in times of 
adversity offer their support? Let us aid by giving counsel, let us offer our 
best endeavors, let us sympathize with them with all our heart. 

129. If necessary, let us endure for a friend even hardship. Often enmity 
has to be borne for the sake of a friend's innocence; oftentimes revilings, if 
one defends and answers for a friend who is found fault with and accused. 
Do not be afraid of such displeasure, for the voice of the just says: 
"Though evil come upon me, I will endure it for a friend's sake." In 
adversity, too, a friend is proved, for in prosperity all seem to be friends. 
But as in adversity patience and endurance are needed, so in prosperity 
strong influence is wanted to check and confute the arrogance of a friend 
who becomes overbearing. 

130. How nobly Job when he was in adversity said: "Pity me, my friends, 
pity me." That is not a cry as it were of misery, but rather one of blame. 
For when he was unjustly reproached by his friends, he answered: "Pity 
me, my friends," that is, ye ought to show pity, but instead ye assail and 
overwhelm a man with whose sufferings ye ought to show sympathy for 
friendship's sake. 

131. Preserve, then, my sons, that friendship ye have begun with your 
brethren, for nothing in the world is more beautiful than that. It is indeed a 
comfort in this life to have one to whom thou canst open thy heart, with 



255 

whom thou canst share confidences, and to whom thou canst entrust the 
secrets of thy heart. It is a comfort to have a trusty man by thy side, who 
will rejoice with thee in prosperity, sympathize in troubles, encourage in 
persecution. What good friends those Hebrew children were whom the 
flames of the fiery furnace did not separate from their love of each other! 
Of them we have already spoken. Holy David says well: "Saul and 
Jonathan were lovely and pleasant, inseparable in their life, in death they 
were not divided." 

132. This is the fruit of friendship; and so faith may not be put aside for 
the sake of friendship. He cannot be a friend to a man who has been 
unfaithful to God. Friendship is the guardian of pity and the teacher of 
equality, so as to make the superior equal to the inferior, and the inferior to 
the superior. For there can be no friendship between diverse characters, 
and so the good- will of either ought to be mutually suited to the other. Let 
not authority be wanting to the inferior if the matter demands it, nor 
humility to the superior. Let him listen to the other as though he were of 
like position — an equal, and let the other warn and reprove like a friend, 
not from a desire to show off, but with a deep feeling of love. 

134. Let not thy warning be harsh, nor thy rebuke bitter, for as friendship 
ought to avoid flattery, so, too, ought it to be free from arrogance. For 
what is a friend but a partner in love, to whom thou unitest and attachest 
thy soul, and with whom thou blendest so as to desire from being two to 
become one; to whom thou entrustest thyself as to a second self, from 
whom thou fearest nothing, and from whom thou demandest nothing 
dishonorable for the sake of thine own advantage. Friendship is not meant 
as a source of revenue, but is full of seemliness, full of grace. Friendship is 
a virtue, not a way of making money. It is produced, not by money, but 
by esteem; not by the offer of rewards, but by a mutual rivalry in doing 
kindnesses. 

134. Lastly, the friendships of the poor are generally better than those of 
the rich, and often the rich are without friends, whilst the poor have many. 
For true friendship cannot exist where there is lying flattery. Many try 
fawningly to please the rich, but no one cares to make pretense to a poor 
man. Whatsoever is stated to a poor man is true, his friendship is free from 
envy. 



256 

135. What is more precious than friendship which is shared alike by angels 
and by men? Wherefore the Lord Jesus says: "Make to yourselves friends 
of the mammon of unrighteousness, that they may receive you into eternal 
habitations." God Himself makes us friends instead of servants, as He 
Himself says: "Ye are My friends if ye do whatsoever I command you." 
He gave us a pattern of friendship to follow. We are to fulfill the wish of a 
friend, to unfold to him our secrets which we hold in our own hearts, and 
are not to disregard his confidences. Let us show him our heart and he will 
open his to us. Therefore He says: "I have called you friends, for I have 
made known unto you all things whatsoever I have heard of My Father." 
A friend, then, if he is a true one, hides nothing; he pours forth his soul as 
the Lord Jesus poured forth the mysteries of His Father. 

136. So he who does the will of God is His friend and is honored with this 
name. He who is of one mind with Him, he too is His friend. For there is 
unity of mind in friends, and no one is more hateful than the man that 
injures friendship. Hence in the traitor the Lord found this the worst point 
on which to condemn his treachery, namely, that he gave no sign of 
gratitude and had mingled the poison of malice at the table of friendship. 
So He says: "It was thou, a man of like mind, My guide and Mine 
acquaintance, who ever didst take pleasant meals with Me." That is: it 
could not be endured, for thou didst fall upon Him Who granted grace to 
thee. "For if My enemy had reproached Me I could have borne it, and I 
would have hid Myself from him who hated Me." An enemy can be 
avoided; a friend cannot, if he desires to lay a plot. Let us guard against 
him to whom we do not entrust our plans; we cannot guard against him to 
whom we have already entrusted them. And so to show up all the 
hatefulness of the sin He did not say: Thou, My servant, My apostle; but 
thou, a man of like mind with Me; that is: thou art not My but thy own 
betrayer, for thou didst betray a man of like mind with thyself. 

137. The Lord Himself, when He was displeased with the three princes 
who had not deferred to holy Job, wished to pardon them through their 
friend, so that the prayer of friendship might win remission of sins. 
Therefore Job asked and God pardoned. Friendship helped them whom 
arrogance had harmed. 



257 

138. These things I have left with you, my children, that you may guard 
them in your minds — you yourselves will prove whether they will be of 
any advantage. Meanwhile they offer you a large number of examples, for 
almost all the examples drawn from our forefathers, and also many a word 
of theirs, are included within these three books; so that, although the 
language may not be graceful, yet a succession of old-time examples set 
down in such small compass may offer much instruction. 



258 



INTRODUCTION TO THE THREE BOOKS OF ST. 
AMBROSE ON THE HOLY SPIRIT 



T he three books on the Holy Spirit are, as St. Ambrose says himself, a 
sequel to those on the Faith, and the two treatises together have been 
sometimes quoted as if one, with the title, De Trinitate. But as we see from 
Gratian's letter to St. Ambrose, and from the reply, that each treatise is 
separate, and the De Spiritu Sancto was written some years later, A.D. 
381. 

In the first book St. Ambrose commences by allegorizing the history of 
Gideon and the fleece, seeing in the drying and moistening of the 
threshing-floor a type of the Holy Spirit leaving the Jews and being poured 
out on the Gentiles. Passing to his more immediate subject, he proves that 
the Holy Spirit is above the whole Creation and is truly God, alleging as a 
special argument that the sin against the Holy Spirit called the Spirit of 
God; that He spake by the prophets and apostles; that He sanctifies men, 
and is typified by the mystical ointment spoken of in Scripture. Next, St. 
Ambrose treats of his oneness with the other two Persons on the Holy 
Trinity, and shows that His mission in no way detracts from this oneness, 
but that there is in all the Divine Persons a perfect unity of peace, love, 
and other virtues. 

The second book commences with a treatment of the history of Samson in 
the same way as that of Gideon in Book I. Samson always succeeded so 
long as the Holy Spirit was with him, but fell into misfortune so soon as 
he was forsaken. Is it shown that the power of the Holy Spirit is the same 
as that of the Father and the Son, and that there is an agreement in design 
and working, and in vivifying man. He is Creator and therefore to be 
worshipped, and He worked with the Father and the Son in founding the 
Church, and in conclusion is proved the unity of operation in the Three 
Persons. 



259 

There can be but little doubt that this is the work, and St. Ambrose the 
author, bitterly attacked by St. Jerome; the whole passage may be read in 
the Apology of Rufinus, in vol iii. of this series. St. Ambrose is compared 
to a daw decked in another bird's plumage, and charged with writing "bad 
things in Latin taken, from good things in Greek," and St. Jerome even took 
the trouble to translate the work of St. Didymus on the Holy Spirit (from 
the preface to which the above extracts are taken), in order that those who 
did not know Greek might, St. Jerome, hoped, recognize the plagiarisms. 

Rufinus vigorously defends St. Ambrose, and, pointing out many 
inconsistencies in his opponent, says: "The saintly Ambrose wrote his 
book on the Holy Spirit not in words only but with his own blood, for he 
offered his life-blood to his persecutors, and shed it within himself, though 
God preserved his life for future labors." 

The truth is that St. Ambrose being a good Greek scholar, and having 
undertaken to write on the Holy Spirit, studied what others had written 
before him, and made use of what had been urged by SS. Basil Didymus, 
and others. The opinion of the great St. Augustine concerning this treatise 
may by set against that of St. Jerome. "St Ambrose when treating of the 
deep subject of the Holy Spirit, and showing that He is equal with the 
Father and the Son, yet makes use of a simple style of discourse; inasmuch 
as his subject required not the embellishments of language, but proofs to 
move the minds of his readers." 



260 

THREE BOOKS OF ST. AMBROSE, BISHOP OF MILAN, 
ON THE HOLY SPIRIT 

TO THE EMPEROR GRATIAN 
BOOK1 



The choice of Gideon was a figure of our Lord's Incarnation, the 
sacrifice of a kid, of the satisfaction for sins in the body of Christ; 
that of the bullock, of the abolition of profane rites; and in the three 
hundred soldiers was a type of the future redemptic through the 
cross. The seeking of various signs by Gideon was also a mystery, for 
by the dryness and moistening of the fleece was signified the falling 
away of the Jews and the calling of the Gentiles, by the water 
received in a basin the washing of the apostles' feet. St. Ambrose 
prays that his own pollution may be washed away, and praises the 
loving-kindness of Christ. The same water sent forth by the Son of 
God effects marvelous conversions; it cannot, however, be sent by 
any other, since it is the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit, Who is 
subject to no external power. 

1 . W hen Jerubbaal, as we read, was beating out wheat under an oak, he 
received a message from God in order that he might bring the people of 
God from the power of strangers into liberty. Nor is it a matter of wonder 
if he was chosen for grace, seeing that even then, being appointed under the 
shadow of the holy cross and of the adorable Wisdom in the predestined 
mystery of the future Incarnation, he was bringing forth the visible grains 
of the fruitful corn from their hiding places, and was [mystically] 
separating the elect of the saints from the refuse of the empty chaff. For 
these elect, as though trained with the rod of truth, laying aside the 
superfluities of the old man together with his deeds, are gathered in the 
Church as in a winepress, or the Church is the winepress of the eternal 
fountain, since from her wells forth the juice of the heavenly Vine. 



261 

2. And Gideon, moved by that message, when he heard that, though 
thousands of the people failed, God would deliver His own from their 
enemies by means of one man, offered a kid, and according to the word of 
the Angel, laid its flesh and the unleavened cakes upon the rock, and 
poured the broth upon them. And as soon as the Angel touched them with 
the end of the staff which he bore, fire burst forth out of the rock, and so 
the sacrifice which he was offering was consumed. By which it seems clear 
that that rock was a figure of the Body of Christ, for it is written: "They 
drank of that rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ." Which 
certainly refers not to His Godhead, but to His Flesh, which watered the 
hearts of the thirsting people with the perpetual stream of His Blood. 

3. Even at that time was it declared in a mystery that the Lord Jesus in His 
Flesh would, when crucified, do away the sins of the whole world, and not 
only the deeds of the body, but the desires of the soul. For the flesh of the 
kid refers to sins of deed, the broth to the enticements of desire as it is 
written: "For the people lusted' an evil lust, and said, Who shall give us 
flesh to eat?" That the Angel then stretched forth his staff, and touched the 
rock, from which fire went out, shows that the Flesh of the Lord, being 
filled with the Divine Spirit, would burn away all the sins of human frailty. 
Wherefore, also, the Lord says: "I am come to send fire upon the earth." 

4. Then the man, instructed and fore -knowing what was to be, observes 
the heavenly mysteries, and therefore, according to the warning, slew the 
bullock destined by his father to idols, and himself offered to God another 
bullock seven years old. By doing which he most plainly showed that after 
the coming of the Lord all Gentile sacrifices should be done away, and that 
only the sacrifice of the Lord's passion should be offered for the 
redemption of the people. For that bullock was, in a type, Christ, in 
Whom, as Esaias said, dwelt the fullness of the seven gifts of the Spirit. 
This bullock Abraham also offered when he saw the day of the Lord and 
was glad. He it is Who was offered at one time in the type of a kid, at 
another in that of a sheep, at another in that of a bullock. Of a kid, because 
He is a sacrifice for sin; of a sheep, because He is an unresisting victim; of 
a bullock, because He is a victim without blemish. 

5. Holy Gideon then saw the mystery beforehand. Next he chose out three 
hundred for the battle, so as to show that the world should be freed from 



262 

the incursion of worse enemies, not by the multitude of their number, but 
by the mystery of the cross. And yet, though he was brave and faithful, he 
asked of the Lord yet fuller proofs of future victory, saying: "If Thou wilt 
save Israel by mine hand, O Lord, as Thou hast said, behold I will put a 
fleece of wool on the threshing-floor, and if there shall be dew on the fleece 
and dryness on all the ground, I shall know that Thou wilt deliver the 
people by my hand according to Thy promise. And it was so." Afterwards 
he asked in addition that dew should descend on all the earth and dryness 
be on the fleece. 

6. Some one perhaps will enquire whether he does not seem to have been 
wanting in faith, seeing that after being instructed by many signs he asked 
still more. But how can he seem to have asked as if doubting or wanting in 
faith, who was speaking in mysteries? He was not then doubtful, but 
careful that we should not doubt. For how could he be doubtful whose 
prayer was effectual? And how could he have begun the battle without 
fear, unless he had understood the message of God? for the dew on the 
fleece signified the faith among the Jews, because the words of God come 
down like the dew. 

7. So when the whole world was parched with the drought of Gentile 
superstition, then came that dew of the heavenly visits on the fleece. But 
after that the lost sheep of the house of Israel (whom I think that the figure 
of the Jewish fleece shadowed forth), after that those sheep, I say, "had 
refused the fountain of living water," the dew of moistening faith dried up 
in the breasts of the Jews, and that divine Fountain turned away its course 
to the hearts of the Gentiles. Whence it has come to pass that now the 
whole world is moistened with the dew of faith, but the Jews have lost 
their prophets and counselors. 

8. Nor is it strange that they should suffer the drought of unbelief, whom 
the Lord deprived of the fertilizing of the shower of prophecy, saying: "I 
will command My clouds that they rain not upon that vineyard." For there 
is a health-giving shower of salutary grace, as David also said: "He came 
down like rain upon a fleece, and like drops that drop upon the earth." The 
divine Scriptures promised us this rain upon the whole earth, to water the 
world with the dew of the Divine Spirit at the coming of the Savior. The 
Lord, then, has now come, and the rain has come; the Lord has come 



263 

bringing the heavenly drops with Him, and so now we drink, who before 
were thirsty, and with an interior draught drink in that Divine Spirit. 

9. Holy Gideon, then, foresaw this, that the nations of the Gentiles also 
would drink by the reception of faith, and therefore he enquired more 
diligently, for the caution of the saints is necessary. Insomuch that also 
Joshua the son of Nun, when he saw the captain of the heavenly host, 
enquired: "Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?" lest, perchance, he 
might be deceived by some stratagem of the adversary. 

10. Nor was it without a reason that he put the fleece neither in a field nor 
in a meadow, but in a threshing-floor, where is the harvest of the wheat: 
"For the harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few;" because that, 
through faith in the Lord, there was about to be a harvest fruitful in 
virtues. 

1 1 . Nor, again, was it without a reason that he dried the fleece of the Jews, 
and put the dew from it into a basin, so that it was filled with water, yet 
he did not himself wash his feet in that dew. The prerogative of so great a 
mystery was to be given to another. He was being waited for Who alone 
could wash away the filth of all. Gideon was not great enough to claim this 
mystery for himself, but "the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, 
but to minister." Let us, then, recognize in Whom these mysteries are seen 
to be accomplished. Not in holy Gideon, for they were still at their 
commencement. Therefore the Gentiles were surpassed, for dryness was 
still upon the Gentiles, and therefore did Israel surpass them, for then did 
the dew remain on the fleece, 

12. Let us come now to the Gospel of God. I find the Lord stripping 
Himself of His garments, and girding Himself with a towel, pouring water 
into a basin, and washing the disciples' feet. That heavenly dew was this 
water, this was foretold, namely, that the Lord Jesus Christ would wash 
the feet of His disciples in that heavenly dew. And now let the feet of our 
minds be stretched out. The Lord Jesus wills also to wash our feet, for He 
says, not to Peter alone, but to each of the faithful: "If I wash not thy feet 
thou wilt have no part with Me." 

13. Come, then, Lord Jesus, put off Thy garments, which Thou didst put 
on for my sake; be Thou stripped that Thou mayest clothe us with Thy 



264 

mercy. Gird Thyself for our sakes with a towel, that Thou mayest gird us 
with Thy gift of immortality. Pour water into the basin, wash not only our 
feet but also the head, and not only of the body, but also the footsteps of 
the soul. I wish to put off all the filth of our frailty, so that I also may say: 
"By night I have put off my coat, how shall I put it on? I have washed my 
feet, how shall I defile them?") 

14. How great is that excellence! As a servant, Thou dost wash the feet of 
Thy disciples; as God, Thou sendest dew from heaven. Nor dost Thou 
wash the feet only, but also invitest us to sit down with Thee, and by the 
example of Thy dignity dost exhort us, saying: "Ye call Me Master and 
Lord, and ye do well, for so I am. If, then, I the Lord and Master have 
washed your feet, ye ought also to wash one another's feet." 

15.1, then, wish also myself to wash the feet of my brethren, I wish to 
fulfill the commandment of my Lord, I will not be ashamed in myself, nor 
disdain what He Himself did first. Good is the mystery of humility, 
because while washing the pollutions of others I wash away my own. But 
all were not able to exhaust this mystery. Abraham was, indeed, willing to 
wash feet, but because of a feeling of hospitality. Gideon, too, was willing 
to wash the feet of the Angel of the Lord who appeared to him, but his 
willingness was confined to one; he was willing as one who would do a 
service, not as one who would confer fellowship with himself. This is a 
great mystery which no one knew. Lastly, the Lord said to Peter: "What I 
do thou knowest not now, but shalt know hereafter." This, I say, is a 
divine mystery which even they who wash will enquire into. It is not, 
then, the simple water of the heavenly mystery whereby we attain to be 
found worthy of having part with Christ. 

16. There is also a certain water which we put into the basin of our soul, 
water from the fleece and from the Book of Judges; water, too, from the 
Book of Psalms. It is the water of the message from heaven. Let, then, this 
water, O Lord Jesus, come into my soul, into my flesh, that through the 
moisture of this rain the valleys of our minds and the fields of our hearts 
may grow green. May the drops from Thee come upon me, shedding forth 
grace and immortality. Wash the steps of my mind that I may not sin 
again. Wash the heel of my soul, that I may be able to efface the curse, that 
I feel not the serpent's bite on the foot of my soul, but, as Thou Thyself 



265 

hast bidden those who follow Thee, may tread on serpents and scorpions 
with uninjured foot. Thou hast redeemed the world, redeem the soul of a 
single sinner. 

17. This is the special excellence of Thy loving-kindness, wherewith Thou 
hast redeemed the whole world one by one. Elijah was sent to one widow; 
Elisha cleansed one; Thou, O Lord Jesus, hast at this day cleansed a 
thousand. How many in the city of Rome, how many at Alexandria, how 
many at Antioch, how many also at Constantinople! For even 
Constantinople has received the word of God, and has received evident 
proofs of Thy judgment. For so long as she cherished the Arians' poison 
in her bosom, disquieted by neighboring wars, she echoed with hostile 
arms around. But so soon as she rejected those who were alien from the 
faith she received as a suppliant the enemy himself, the judge of kings, 
whom she had always been wont to fear, she buried him when dead, and 
retains him entombed. How many, then, hast Thou cleansed at 
Constantinople, how many, lastly, at this day in the whole world! 

18. Damasus cleansed not, Peter cleansed not, Ambrose cleansed not, 
Gregory cleansed not; for ours is the ministry, but the sacraments are 
Thine. For it is not in man's power to confer what is divine, but it is, O 
Lord, Thy gift and that of the Father, as Thou hast spoken by the 
prophets, saying: "I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh, and their 
sons and their daughters shall prophesy." This is that typical dew from 
heaven, this is that gracious rain, as we read: "A gracious rain, dividing for 
His inheritance." For the Holy Spirit is not subject to any foreign power or 
law, but is the Arbiter of this own freedom, dividing all things according to 
the decision of His own will, to each, as we read, severally as He wills. 



266 
CHAPTER 1 



St. Ambrose commences his argument by complimenting the 
Emperor, both for his faith and for the restitution of the Basilica to 
the Church; then having urged that his opponents, if they affirm 
that the Holy Spirit is not a servant, cannot deny Him to be above all, 
adds that the same Spirit, when He said, "All things serve Thee," 
showed plainly that He was distinct from creatures; which point he 
also establishes by other evidence. 

19. T he Holy Spirit, then, is not amongst but above all things. For (since 
you, most merciful Emperor, are so fully instructed concerning the Son of 
God as to be able yourself to teach others) I will not detain you longer, as 
you desire and claim to be told something more exactly [concerning Him], 
especially since you lately showed yourself to be so pleased by an 
argument of this nature, as to command the Basilica to be restored to the 
Church without any one urging you. 

20. So, then, we have received the grace of your faith and the reward of our 
own; for we cannot say otherwise than that it was of the grace of the Holy 
Spirit, that when all were unconscious of it, you suddenly restored the 
Basilica. This is the gift, I say, this the work of the Holy Spirit, Who 
indeed was at that time preached by us, but was working in you. 

21. And I do not regret the losses of the previous time, since the 
sequestration of that Basilica resulted in the gain of a sort of usury. For 
you sequestrated the Basilica, that you might give proof of your faith. And 
so your piety fulfilled its intention, which had sequestered that it might 
give proof, and so gave proof as to restore. I did not lose the fruit, and I 
have your judgment, and it has been made clear to all that, with a certain 
diversity of action, there was in you no diversity of opinion. It was made 
clear, I say, to all, that it was not of yourself that you sequestrated, that it 
was of yourself when you restored it. 

22. Now let us establish by evidence what we have said. The first point in 
the discussion is that all things serve. Now it is clear that all things serve, 
since it is written: "All things serve Thee." This the Spirit said through the 



267 

prophet. He did not say, We serve, but, "serve Thee," that you might 
believe that He Himself is excepted from serving. So, then, since all things 
serve, and the Spirit does not serve, the Holy Spirit is certainly not 
included amongst all things. 

23. For if we say that the Holy Spirit is included amongst all things, 
certainly when we read that the Spirit searches the deep things of God, we 
deny that God the Father is over all. For since the Spirit is of God, and is 
the Spirit of His mouth, how can we say that the Holy Spirit is included 
amongst all things, seeing that God, Whose is the Spirit, is over all, 
possessing certainly fullness of perfection and perfect power. 

25. But lest the objectors should think that the Apostle was in error, let 
them learn whom he followed as his authority for his belief. The Lord said 
in the Gospel: "When the Paraclete is come, Whom I will send to you from 
My Father, even the Spirit of Truth which proceedeth from the Father, He 
shall bear witness of Me." So the Holy Spirit both proceeds from the 
Father, and bears witness of the Son. For the witness Who is both faithful 
and true bears witness of the Father, than which witness nothing is more 
full for the expression of the Divine Majesty, nothing more clear as to the 
Unity of the Divine Power, since the Spirit has the same knowledge as the 
Son, Who is the witness and inseparable sharer of the Father's secrets. 

26. He excludes, then, the fellowship and number of creatures from the 
knowledge of God, but by not excluding the Holy Spirit, He shows that 
He is not of the fellowship of creatures. So that the passage which is read 
in the Gospel: "For no man hath seen God at any time, save the 
Only-begotten Son Who is in the bosom of the Father He hath declared 
Him," also pertains to the exclusion of the Holy Spirit. For how has He 
not seen God Who searches even the deep things of God? How has He not 
seen God Who knows the things which are of God? How has He not seen 
God Who is of God? So, since it is laid down that no one has seen God at 
any time, whereas the Holy Spirit has seen Him, clearly the Holy Spirit is 
excepted. He, then, is above all Who is excluded from all. 



268 
CHAPTER 2 



The words, "All things were made by Him," are not a proof that the 
Holy Spirit is included amongst all things, since He was not made. 
For otherwise it could be proved by other passages that the Son, and 
even the Father Himself, must be numbered amongst all things, 
which would be similar irreverence. 

27 . T his seems, gracious Emperor, to be a full account of our right feeling, 
but to the impious it does not seem so. Observe what they are striving 
after. For the heretics are wont to say that the Holy Spirit is to be 
reckoned amongst all things, because it is written of God the Son: "All 
things were made by Him." 

28. How utterly confused is a course of argument which does not hold to 
the truth, and is involved in an inverted order of statements. For this 
argument would be of value for the statement that the Holy Spirit is 
amongst all things, if they proved that He was made. For Scripture says 
that all things which were made were made by the Son; but since we are 
not taught that the Holy Spirit was made, He certainly cannot be proved 
to be amongst all things Who was neither made as all things are, nor 
created. To me this testimony is of use for establishing each point; firstly, 
that He is proved to be above all things, because He was not made; and 
secondly, that because He is above all things, He is seen not to have been 
made, and is not to be numbered amongst those things which were made. 

29. But if any one, because the Evangelist stated that all things were made 
by the Word, making no exception of the Holy Spirit (although the Spirit 
of God speaking in John said: "All things were made by Him, "and said 
not we were all things which were made; whilst the Lord Himself 
distinctly showed that the Spirit of God spoke in the Evangelists, saying, 
"For it will not be you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that 
speaketh in you"), yet if any one, as I said, does not except the Holy 
Spirit in this place, but numbers Him amongst all, he consequently does 
not except the Son of God in that passage where the Apostle says: "Yet to 
us there is one God the Father, of Whom are all things, and we by Him." 



269 

But that he may know that the Son is not amongst all things, let him read 
what follows, for when he says: "And one Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom 
are all things," he certainly excepts the Son of God from all, who also 
excepted the Father. 

30. But it is equal irreverence to detract from the dignity of the Father, or 
the Son, or the Holy Spirit. For he believes not in the Father who does not 
believe in the Son, nor does he believe in the Son of God who does not 
believe in the Spirit, nor can faith stand without the rule of truth. For he 
who has begun to deny the oneness of power in the Father and the Son and 
the Holy Spirit certainly cannot prove his divided faith in points where 
there is no division. So, then, since complete piety is to believe rightly, so 
complete impiety is to believe wrongly. 

3 1 . Therefore they who think that the Holy Spirit ought to be numbered 
amongst all things, because they read that all things were made by the Son, 
must needs also think that the Son is to be numbered amongst all things, 
because they read: "All things are of God." But, consequently, they also 
do not separate the Father from all things, who do not separate the Son 
from all creatures, since, as all things are of the Father, so, too, all things 
are by the Son. And the Apostle, because of his foresight in the Spirit, 
used this very expression, lest he should seem to the impious who had 
heard that the Son had said, "That which My Father hath given Me is 
greater than all," to have included the Son amongst all. 



270 

CHAPTER 3 

The statement of the Apostle, that all things are of the Father by the 
Son, does not separate the Spirit from Their company, since what is 
referred to one Person is also attributed to each. So those baptized in 
the Name of Christ are held to be baptized in the Name of the 
Father and of the Holy Spirit, if, that is, there is belief in the Three 
Persons, otherwise the baptism will be null. This also applies to 
baptism in the Name of the Holy Spirit. If because of one passage the 
Holy Spirit is separated from the Father and the Son, it will 
necessarily follow from other passages that the Father will be 
subordinated to the Son. The Son is worshipped by angels, not by the 
Spirit, for the latter is His witness, not His servant. Where the Son 
is spoken of as being before all, it is to be understood of creatures. 
The great dignity of the Holy Spirit is proved by the absence of 
forgiveness for the sin against Him. How it is that such sin cannot be 
forgiven, and how the Spirit is one. 

32. But perhaps some one may say that there was a reason why the writer 
said that all things were of the Father, and all things through the Son, but 
made no mention of the Holy Spirit, and would obtain the foundation of an 
argument from this. But if he persists in his perverse interpretation, in 
how many passages will he find the power of the Holy Spirit asserted, in 
which Scripture has stated nothing concerning either the Father or the Son, 
but has left it to be understood? 

40. Where, then, the grace of the Spirit is asserted, is that of God the 
Father or of the Only-begotten Son denied? By no means; for as the Father 
is in the Son, and the Son in the Father, so, too, "the love of God is shed 
abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, Who hath been given us." And as 
he who is blessed in Christ is blessed in the Name of the Father, and of the 
Son, and of the Holy Spirit, because the Name is one and the Power one; 
so, too, when any divine operation, whether of the Father, or of the Son, 
or of the Holy Spirit, is treated of, it is not referred only to the Holy 
Spirit, but also to the Father and the Son, and not only to the Father, but 
also to the Son and the Spirit. 



271 

41. Then, too, the Ethiopian eunuch of Queen Candace, when baptized in 
Christ, obtained the fullness of the sacrament. And they who said that 
they knew not of any Holy Spirit, although they said that they had been 
baptized with John's baptism, were baptized afterwards, because John 
baptized for the remission of sins in the Name of the coming Jesus, not in 
his own. And so they knew not the Spirit, because in the form in which 
John baptized they had not received baptism in the Name of Christ. For 
John, though he did not baptize in the Spirit, nevertheless preached Christ 
and the Spirit. And then, when he was questioned whether he were 
perchance himself the Christ, he answered: "I baptize you with water, but 
a stronger than I shall come, Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear, He 
shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and. with fire." They therefore, 
because they had been baptized neither in the Name of Christ nor with 
faith in the Holy Spirit, could not receive the sacrament of baptism. 

42. So they were baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ, and baptism was 
not repeated in their case, but administered differently, for there is but one 
baptism. But where there is not the complete sacrament of baptism, there 
is not considered to be a commencement nor any kind of baptism. But 
baptism is complete if one confess the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Spirit. If you deny One you overthrow the whole. And just as if you 
mention in words One only, either the Father, or the Son, or the Holy 
Spirit, and in your belief do not deny either the Father, the Son, or the 
Holy Spirit, the mystery of the faith is complete, so, too, although you 
name the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and lessen the power of either the 
Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit, the whole mystery is made empty. 
And, lastly, they who had said: "We have not heard if there be any Holy 
Spirit, were baptized afterwards in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ." 
And this was an additional abundance of grace, for now through Paul' s 
preaching they knew the Holy Spirit. 

43. Nor ought it to seem opposed to this, that although subsequently 
mention is not made of the Spirit, He is yet believed in, and what had not 
been mentioned in words is expressed in belief. For when it is said, "In the 
Name of our Lord Jesus Christ," the mystery is complete through the 
oneness of the Name, and the Spirit is not separated from the baptism of 
Christ, since John baptized unto repentance, Christ in the Spirit. 



272 

44. Let us now consider whether as we read that the sacrament of baptism 
in the Name of Christ was complete, so, too, when the Holy Spirit alone is 
named, anything is wanting to the completeness of the mystery. Let us 
follow out the argument that he who has named One has signified the 
Trinity. If you name Christ, you imply both God the Father by Whom the 
Son was anointed, and the Son Himself Who was anointed, and the Holy 
Spirit with Whom He was anointed. For it is written: "This Jesus of 
Nazareth, Whom God anointed with the Holy Spirit." And if you name 
the Father, you denote equally His Son and the Spirit of His mouth, if, 
that is, you apprehend it in your heart. And if you speak of the Spirit, you 
name also God the Father, from Whom the Spirit proceeds, and the Son, 
inasmuch as He is also the Spirit of the Son. 

45. Wherefore that authority may also be joined to reason Scripture 
indicates that we can also be rightly baptized in the Spirit, when the Lord 
says: "But ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit." And in another place 
the Apostle says: "For we were all baptized in the body itself into one 
Spirit." The work is one, for the mystery is one; the baptism one, for there 
was one death on behalf of the world; there is, then, a oneness of working, 
a oneness of setting forth, which cannot be separated. 

46. But if in this place the Spirit be separated from the operation of the 
Father and the Son, because it is said, All things are of God, and all things 
are through the Son, then, too, when the Apostle says of Christ, "Who is 
over all, God blessed for ever," He set Christ not only above all creatures, 
but (which it is impious to say) above the Father also. But God forbid, for 
the Father is not amongst all things, is not amongst a kind of crowd of His 
own creatures. The whole creation is below, over all is the Godhead of the 
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The former serves, the latter rules; 
the former is subject, the latter reigns; the former is the work, the latter the 
author of the work; the former, without exception, worships, the latter is 
worshipped by all without exception. 

47. Lastly, of the Son it is written: "And let all the angels of God worship 
Him." You do not find, Let the Holy Spirit worship. And farther on: "To 
which of the angels said He at any time, Sit thou on My right hand till I 
make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet? Are they not all," says he, 
"ministering spirits who are sent to minister?" When he says All, does he 



273 

include the Holy Spirit? Certainly not, because Angels and the other 
Powers are destined to serve in ministering and obedience to the Son of 
God. 

48. But in truth the Holy Spirit is not a minister but a witness of the Son, 
as the Son Himself said of Him: "He shall bear witness of Me." The Spirit, 
then, is a witness of the Son. He who is a witness knows all things, as God 
the Father is a witness. For so you read in later passages, for our salvation 
was confirmed to us by God bearing witness by signs and wonders and by 
manifold powers and by distributions of the Holy Spirit. He who divides 
as he will is certainly above all, not amongst all, for to divide is the gift of 
the worker, not an innate part of the work itself. 

49. If the Son is above all, through Whom our salvation received its 
commencement, so that it might be preached, certainly God the Father 
also, Who testifies and gives confirmation concerning our salvation by 
signs and wonders, is excepted from all. In like manner the Spirit, Who 
bears witness to our salvation by His diversities of gifts, is not to be 
numbered with the crowd of creatures, but to be reckoned with the Father 
and the Son; Who, when He divides, is not Himself divided by cutting off 
Himself, for being indivisible He loses nothing when He gives to all, as also 
the Son, when the Father receives the kingdom, loses nothing, nor does the 
Father, when He gives that which is His to the Son, suffer loss. We know, 
then, by the testimony of the Son that there is no loss in the division of 
spiritual grace; for He Who breathes where He wills is everywhere free 
from loss. Concerning which power we shall speak more fully farther on. 

50. In the meanwhile, since our intention is to prove in due order that the 
Spirit is not to be reckoned amongst all things, let us take the Apostle, 
whose words they call in question, as an authority for this position. For 
what "all things" would be, whether visible or invisible, he himself declared 
when he said: "For in Him were all things created in the heavens and in 
earth." You see that "all things" is spoken of things in the heavens, and of 
things in earth, for in the heavens are also invisible things which were 
made. 

51. But that no one should be ignorant of this he added those of whom he 
was speaking: "Whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers, 



274 

all things were created by Him and in Him, and He is before all, and in Him 
all things consist." Does he, then, include the Holy Spirit here amongst 
creatures? Or when he says that the Son of God is before all things, is he 
to be supposed to have said that He is before the Father? Certainly not; 
for as here he says that all things were created by the Son, and that all 
things in the heavens consist in Him, so, too, it cannot be doubted that all 
things in the heavens have their strength in the Holy Spirit, since we read: 
"By the word of the Lord were the heavens established and all the strength 
of them by the Spirit of His mouth." He, then, is above all, from Whom is 
all the strength of things in heaven and things on earth. He, then, Who is 
above all things certainly does not serve; He Who serves not is free; He 
Who is free has the prerogative of lordship. 

52. If I were to say this at first it would be denied. But in the same manner 
as they deny the less that the greater may not be believed, so let us set 
forth lesser matters first that either they may show their perfidy in lesser 
matters, or, if they grant the lesser matters, we may infer greater from the 
lesser. 

53. 1 think, most merciful Emperor, that they are most fully confuted who 
dare to reckon the Holy Spirit amongst all things. But that they may know 
that they are pressed not only by the testimony of the apostles, but also 
by that of our Lord; how can they dare to reckon the Holy Spirit amongst 
all things, since the Lord Himself said: "He who shall blaspheme against 
the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but he who shall blaspheme 
against the Holy Ghost shall never be forgiven, either here or hereafter." 
How, then, can any one dare to reckon the Holy Spirit amongst creatures? 
Or who will so blind himself as to think that if he have injured any creature 
he cannot be forgiven in any wise? For if the Jews because they 
worshipped the host of heaven were deprived of divine protection, whilst 
he who worships and confesses the Holy Spirit is accepted of God, but he 
who confesses Him not is convicted of sacrilege without forgiveness: 
certainly it follows from this that the Holy Spirit cannot be reckoned 
amongst all things, but that He is above all things, an offense against 
Whom is avenged by eternal punishment. 

54. But observe carefully why the Lord said: "He who shall blaspheme 
against the Son of Man it shall be forgiven him, but he who shall 



275 

blaspheme against the Holy Ghost shall never be forgiven, either here or 
hereafter." Is an offense against the Son different from one against the 
Holy Spirit? For as their dignity is one, and common to both, so too is the 
offense. But if any one, led astray by the visible human body, should think 
somewhat more remissly than is fitting concerning the Body of Christ (for 
it ought not to appear of little worth to us, seeing it is the palace of 
chastity, and the fruit of the Virgin), he incurs guilt, but he is not shut out 
from pardon, which he may attain to by faith. But if any one should deny 
the dignity, majesty, and eternal power of the Holy Spirit, and should 
think that devils are cast out not in the Spirit of God, but in Beelzebub, 
there can be no attaining of pardon there where is the fullness of sacrilege; 
for he who has denied the Spirit has denied also the Father and the Son, 
since the same is the Spirit of God Who is the Spirit of Christ. 



276 

CHAPTER 4 



The Holy Spirit is one and the same Who spake in the prophets and 
apostles, Who is the Spirit of God and of Christ; Whom, further, 
Scripture designates the Paraclete, and the Spirit of life and truth. 

55. B ut no one will doubt that the Spirit is one, although very many have 
doubted whether God be one. For many heretics have said that the God of 
the Old Testament is one, and the God of the New Testament is another. 
But as the Father is one Who both spake of old, as we read, to the fathers 
by the prophets, and to us in the last days by His Son; "and as the Son is 
one, Who according to the tenor of the Old Testament was offended by 
Adam, seen by Abraham, worshipped by Jacob; so, too, the Holy Spirit is 
one, who energized in the prophets, was breathed upon the apostles, and 
was joined to the Father and the Son in the sacrament of baptism. For 
David says of Him: "And take not Thy Holy Spirit from me." And in 
another place he said of Him: "Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit?" 

56. That you may know that the Spirit of God is the same as the Holy 
Spirit, as we read also in the Apostle: "No one speaking in the Spirit of 
God says Anathema to Jesus and no one can say, Lord Jesus, but in the 
Holy Spirit," the Apostle calls Him the Spirit of God. He called Him also 
the Spirit of Christ, as you read: "But ye are not in the flesh but in the 
Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you." And farther on: 
"But if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you." 
The same is, then, the Spirit of God, Who is the Spirit of Christ. 

57. The same is also the Spirit of Life, as the Apostle says: "For the law 
of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus hath delivered me from the law of sin 
and death." 

58. Him, then, Whom the Apostle called the Spirit of Life, the Lord in the 
Gospel named the Paraclete, and the Spirit of Truth, as you find: "And I 
will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter [Paraclete], 
that He may be with you for ever, even the Spirit of Truth, Whom this 
world cannot receive; because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him." 
You have, then, the Paraclete Spirit, called also the Spirit of Truth, and the 



277 

invisible Spirit. How, then, do some think that the Son is visible in His 
Divine Nature, when the world cannot see even the Spirit? 

59. Receive now the saying of the Lord, that the same is the Holy Spirit 
Who is the Spirit of Truth, for you read in the end of this book: "Receive 
the Holy Spirit." And Peter teaches that the same is the Holy Spirit Who 
is the Spirit of the Lord, when he says: "Ananias, why has it seemed good 
to thee to tempt and to lie to the Holy Spirit?" And immediately after he 
says again to the wife of Ananias: "Why has it seemed good to you to 
tempt the Spirit of the Lord?" When he says "to you," he shows that he is 
speaking of the same Spirit of Whom he had spoken to Ananias. He 
Himself is, then, the Spirit of the Lord Who is the Holy Spirit. 

60. And the Lord Himself made clear that the same Who is the Spirit of the 
Father is the Holy Spirit, when according to Matthew He said that we 
ought not to take thought in persecution what we should say: "For it is 
not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you," 
Again He says according to St. Luke: "Be not anxious how ye shall answer 
or speak, for the Holy Spirit of God shall teach you in that hour what ye 
ought to say." So, although many are called spirits, as it is said: "Who 
maketh His Angels spirits," yet the Spirit of God is but one. 

61. Both apostles and prophets received that one Spirit, as the vessel of 
election, the Doctor of the Gentiles, says: "For we have all drunk of one 
Spirit;" Him, as it were, Who cannot be divided, but is poured into souls, 
and flows into the senses, that He may quench the burning of this world's 
thirst. 



278 

CHAPTER 5 



The Holy Spirit, since He sanctifies creatures, is neither a creature 
nor subject to change. He is always good, since He is given by the 
Father and the Son; neither is He to be numbered amongst such 
things as are said to fail. He must be acknowledged as the source of 
goodness. The Spirit of God's mouth, the amender of evils, and 
Himself good. Lastly, as He is said in Scripture to be good, and is 
joined to the Father and the Son in baptism, He cannot possibly be 
denied to be good. He is not, however, said to progress, but to be 
made perfect in goodness, which distinguishes Him from all 
creatures. 

62 . T he Holy Spirit is not, then, of the substance of things corporeal, for 
He sheds incorporeal grace on corporeal things; nor, again, is He of the 
substance of invisible creatures, for they receive His sanctification, and 
through Him are superior to the other works of the universe. Whether you 
speak of Angels, or Dominions, or Powers, every creature waits for the 
grace of the Holy Spirit. For as we are children through the Spirit, because 
"God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts crying, Abba, Father; so 
that thou art now not a servant but a son;" in like manner, also, every 
creature is waiting for the revelation of the sons of God, whom in truth the 
grace of the Holy Spirit made sons of God. Therefore, also, every creature 
itself shall be changed by the revelation of the grace of the Spirit, "and 
shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the 
glory of the children of God." 

63. Every creature, then, is subject to change, not only such as has been 
changed by some sin or condition of the outward elements, but also such 
as can be liable to corruption by a hull of nature, though by careful 
discipline it be not yet so; for, as we have shown in a former treatise, the 
nature of Angels evidently can be changed. It is certainly fitting to judge 
that such as is the nature of one, such also is that of others. The nature of 
the rest, then, is capable of change, but the discipline is better. 



279 

64. Every creature, therefore, is capable of change, but the Holy Spirit is 
good and not capable of change, nor can He be changed by any fault, Who 
does away the faults of all and pardons their sins. How, then, is He 
capable of change, Who by sanctifying works in others a change to grace, 
but is not changed Himself. 

65. How is He capable of change Who is always good? For the Holy 
Spirit, through Whom the things that are good are ministered to us, is never 
evil. Whence two evangelists in one and the same place, in words in 
differing from each other, have made the same statement, for you read in 
Matthew: "If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your 
children; how much more shall your Father, Who is in heaven, give good 
things to them that ask Him." But according to Luke you will find it thus 
written: "How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit 
to them that ask Him?" We observe, then, that the Holy Spirit is good in 
the Lord's judgment by the testimony of the evangelists, since the one has 
put good things in the place of the Holy Spirit, the other has named the 
Holy Spirit in the place of good things. If, then, the Holy Spirit is that 
which is good, how is He not good? 

66. Nor does it escape our notice that some copies have likewise, according 
to St. Luke: "How much more shall your heavenly Father give a good gift 
to them that ask Him." This good gift is the grace of the Spirit, which the 
Lord Jesus shed forth from heaven, after having been fixed to the gibbet of 
the cross, returning with the triumphal spoils of death deprived of its 
power, as you find it written: "Ascending up on high He led captivity 
captive, and gave good gifts to men." And well does he say "gifts," for as 
the Son was given, of Whom it is written: "Unto us a Child is born, unto 
us a Son is given;" so, too, is the grace of the Spirit given. But why should 
I hesitate to say that the Holy Spirit also is given to us, since, it is written: 
"The love of God is shed forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, Who is 
given to us." And since captive breasts certainly could not receive Him, the 
Lord Jesus first led captivity captive, that our affections being set free, He 
might pour forth the gift of divine grace. 

67. And He said well "led captivity captive." For the victory of Christ is 
the victory of liberty, which won grace for all, and inflicted wrong on none. 
So in the setting free of all no one is captive. And because in the time of 



280 

the Lord's passion wrong alone had no part, which had made captive all of 
whom it had gained possession, captivity itself turning back upon itself 
was made captive, not now attached to Belial but to Christ, to serve 
Whom is liberty. "For he who is called in the Lord as a servant is the 
Lord's freedman." 

68. But to return to the point. "All," says He, "have gone aside, all 
together are become unprofitable. There is none that doeth good, not even 
one." If they except the Holy Spirit, even they themselves confess that He 
is not amongst all; if they do not except Him, then they, too, acknowledge 
that He has gone aside amongst all. 

69. But let us consider whether He has goodness in Himself, since He is 
the Source and Principle of goodness. For as the Father and the Son have, 
so too the Holy Spirit also has goodness. And the Apostle also taught this 
when he said: "Now the fruit of the Spirit is peace, love, joy, patience, 
goodness." For who doubts that He is good Whose fruit is goodness. For a 
good tree brings forth good fruit." 

70. And so if God be good, how shall He Who is the Spirit of His mouth 
not be good, Who searcheth even the deep things of God? Can the 
infection of evil enter into the deep things of God? And from this it is seen 
how foolish they are who deny that the Son of God is good, when they 
cannot deny that the Spirit of Christ is good, of Whom the Son of God 
says: "Therefore said I that He shall receive of Mine." 

71. Or is the Spirit not good, Who of the worst makes good men, does 
away sin, destroys evil, shuts out crime, pours in good gifts, makes 
apostles of persecutors, and priests of sinners? "Ye were," it is said, 
"sometime darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord." 

72. But why do we put them off? And if they ask for statements since 
they do not deny facts, let them hear that the Holy Spirit is good, for 
David said: "Let Thy good Spirit, lead me forth in the right way." For 
what is the Spirit but full of goodness? Who though because of His nature 
He cannot be attained to, yet because of His goodness can be received by 
us, filling all things His power, but only partaken of by the just, simple in 
substance, rich in virtues, present to each, dividing of His own to every 
one, and Himself whole everywhere. 



281 

73. And with good cause did the Son of God say: "Go and baptize all 
nations in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," 
not disdaining association with the Holy Spirit. Why, then, do some take it 
ill that He Whom the Lord disdained not in the sacrament of baptism, 
should be joined in our devotion with the Father and the Son? 

74. Good, then, is the Spirit, but good, not as though acquiring but as 
imparting goodness. For the Holy Spirit does not receive from creatures 
but is received; as also He is not sanctified but sanctifies; for the creature is 
sanctified, but the Holy Spirit sanctifies. In which matter, though the word 
is used in common, there is a difference in the nature. For both the man 
who receives and God Who gives sanctity are called holy, as we read: "Be 
ye holy, for I am holy." Now sanctification and corruption cannot share 
the same nature, and therefore the grace of the Holy Spirit and the creature 
cannot be of one substance. 

75. Since, then, the whole invisible creation (whose substance some rightly 
believe to be reasonable and incorporeal), with the exception of the 
Trinity, does not impart but acquires the grace of the Spirit, and does not 
share in it but receives it, the whole commonalty of creation is to be 
separated from association with the Holy Spirit. Let them then believe that 
the Holy Spirit is not a creature; or, if they think Him a creature, why do 
they associate Him with the Father? If they think Him a creature, why do 
they join Him with the Son of God? But if they do not think that He 
should be separated from the Father and the Son, they do not consider 
Him to be a creature, for where the sanctification is one the nature is one. 



282 

CHAPTER 6 



Although we are baptized with water and the Spirit, the latter is 
much superior to the former, and is not therefore to be separated 
from the Father and-the Son. 

7 6 . T here are, however, many who, because we are baptized with water 
and the Spirit, think that there is no difference in the offices of water and 
the Spirit, and therefore think that they do not differ in nature. Nor do 
they observe that we are buried in the element of water that we may rise 
again renewed by the Spirit. For in the water is the representation of death, 
in the Spirit is the pledge of life, that the body of sin may die through the 
water, which encloses the body as it were in a kind of tomb, that we, by 
the power of the Spirit, may be renewed from the death of sin, being born 
again in God. 

77. And so these three witnesses are one, as John said: "The water, the 
blood, and the Spirit." One in the mystery, not in nature. The water, then, 
is a witness of burial, the blood is a witness of death, the Spirit is a 
witness of life. If, then, there be any grace in the water, it is not from the 
nature of water, but from the presence of the Holy Spirit. 

78. Do we live in the water or in the Spirit? Are we sealed in the water or 
in the Spirit. For in Him we live and He Himself is the earnest of our 
inheritance, as the Apostle says, writing to the Ephesians I "In Whom 
believing ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, Who is an 
earnest of our inheritance." So we were sealed by the Holy Spirit, not by 
nature, but by God, for it is written: "He Who anointed us is God, Who 
also sealed us, and gave the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." 

79. We were then sealed with the Spirit by God. For as we die in Christ, in 
order to be born again, so, too, we are sealed with the Spirit, that we may 
possess His brightness and image and grace, which is undoubtedly our 
spiritual seal. For although we were visibly sealed in our bodies, we are in 
truth sealed in our hearts, that the Holy Spirit may portray in us the 
likeness of the heavenly image. 



283 

80. Who, then, can dare to say that the Holy Spirit is separated from the 
Father and the Son, since through Him we attain to the image and likeness 
of God, and through Him, as the Apostle Peter says, are partakers of the 
divine nature? In which there is certainly not the inheritance of carnal 
succession, but the spiritual connection of the grace of adoption. And in 
order that we may know that this seal is rather on our hearts than on our 
bodies, the prophet says: "The light of Thy countenance has been 
impressed upon us, O Lord, Thou hast put gladness in my heart." 



284 

CHAPTER 7 

The Holy Spirit is not a creature, seeing that He is infinite, and was 
shed upon the apostles dispersed through all countries, and 
moreover sanctifies the Angers also, to whom He makes us equal. 
Mary was full of the same likewise, so too, Christ the Lord, and so 
far all things high and low. And all benediction has its origin from 
His operation, as was signified in the moving of the water at 
Bethesda. 

8 1 . Since then, every creature is confined within certain limits of its own 
nature, and inasmuch as those invisible operations, which cannot be 
circumscribed by place and bounds, yet are closed in by the property of 
their own substance; how can any one dare to call the Holy Spirit a 
creature, Who has not a limited and circumscribed power? because He is 
always in all things and everywhere, which assuredly is the property of 
Divinity and Lordship, for: "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness 
thereof." 

81. And so, when the Lord appointed His servants the apostles, that we 
might recognize that the creature was one thing and the grace of the Spirit 
another, He appointed them to different places, because all could not be 
everywhere at once. But He gave the Holy Spirit to all, to shed upon the 
apostles though separated the gift of indivisible grace. The persons, then, 
were different, but the accomplishment of the working was in all one, 
because the Holy Spirit is one of Whom it is said: "Ye shall receive power, 
even the Holy Spirit coming upon you, and ye shall be witnesses to Me in 
Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the ends of the earth." 

82. The Holy Spirit, then, is uncircumscribed and infinite, Who infused 
Himself into the minds of the disciples throughout the separate divisions 
of distant regions, and the remote bounds of the whole world, Whom 
nothing is able to escape or to deceive. And therefore holy David says: 
"Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit, or whither shall I flee from Thy face." 
Of what Angel does the Scripture say this? of what Dominion? of what 
Power? of what Angel do we find the power diffused over many? For 



285 

Angels were sent to few, but the Holy Spirit was poured upon whole 
peoples. Who, then, can doubt that that is divine which is shed upon many 
at once and is not seen; but that that is corporeal which is seen and held by 
individuals? 

83. But in like manner as the Spirit sanctifying the apostles is not a 
partaker of human nature; so, too, He sanctifying Angels, Dominions, and 
Powers, has no partnership with creatures. But if any think that the 
holiness of the Angels is not spiritual, but some other kind of grace 
belonging to the property of their nature, they will forsooth judge Angels 
to be inferior to men. For since themselves also confess that they would 
not dare to compare Angels to the Holy Spirit, and they cannot deny that 
the Holy Spirit is shed upon men; but the sanctification of the Spirit is a 
divine gift and favor, men who possess a better kind of sanctification will 
certainly be found to be preferred to the Angels. But since Angels come 
down to men to assist them, it must be understood that the nature of 
Angels is higher as it receives more of the grace of the Spirit, and that the 
favor awarded to us and to them comes from the same author. 

84. But how great is that grace which makes even the lower nature of the 
lot of men equal to the gifts received by Angels, as the Lord Himself 
promised, saying: "Ye shall be as the Angels in heaven." Nor is it difficult, 
for He Who made those Angels in the Spirit will by the same grace make 
men also equal to the Angels. 

85. But of what creature can it be said that it fills all things, as is written of 
the Holy Spirit: "I will pour My Spirit upon all flesh." This cannot be said 
of an Angel. Lastly, Gabriel himself, when sent to Mary, said: "Hail, full 
of grace," plainly declaring the grace of the Spirit which was in her, because 
the Holy Spirit had come upon her, and she was about to have her womb 
full of grace with the heavenly Word. 

86. For it is of the Lord to fill all things, Who says: "I fill heaven and 
earth." If, then, it is the Lord Who fills heaven and earth, Who can judge 
the Holy Spirit to be without a share in the dominion and divine power, 
seeing that He has filled the world, and what is beyond the whole world, 
filled Jesus the Redeemer of the whole world? For it is written: "But 



286 

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, departed from Jordan," Who, then, except 
one who possessed the same fullness could fill Him Who fills all things? 

87. But test they should object that this was said according to the flesh, 
though He alone from Whose flesh went forth virtue to heal all, was more 
than all; yet, as the Lord fills all things, so, too, we read of the Spirit: "For 
the Spirit of the Lord filled the whole world." And you find it said of all 
who had consorted with the Apostles that, "filled with the Holy Spirit 
they spoke the word of God with boldness." You see that the Spirit gives 
both fullness and boldness, Whose operation the archangel announces to 
Mary, saying: "The Holy Spirit shall come on thee." 

88. You read, too, in the Gospel that the Angel descended at the appointed 
time into the pool and troubled the water, and he who first went down into 
the pool was made whole, What did the Angel declare in this type but the 
descent of the Holy Spirit, which was to come to pass in our day, and 
should consecrate the waters when invoked by the prayers of the priest? 
That Angel, then, was a herald of the Holy Spirit, inasmuch as by means 
of the grace of the Spirit medicine was to be applied to our infirmities of 
soul and mind. The Spirit, then, has the same ministers as God the Father 
and Christ. He fills all things, possesses all things, works all and in all in 
the same manner as God the Father and the Son work. 

89. What, then, is more divine than the working of the Holy Spirit, since 
God Himself testifies that the Holy Spirit presides over His blessings, 
saying: "I will put My Spirit upon thy seed and My blessings upon thy 
children." For no blessing can be full except through the inspiration of the 
Holy Spirit. Wherefore, too, the Apostle found nothing better to wish us 
than this, as He himself said: "We cease not to pray and make request for 
you that ye may be filled with the knowledge of His will, in all wisdom 
and spiritual understanding walking worthily of God." He taught, then, 
that this was the will of God, that rather by walking in good works and 
words and affections, we should be filled with the will of God, Who puts 
His Holy Spirit in our hearts. Therefore if he who has the Holy Spirit is 
filled with the will of God, there is certainly no difference of will between 
the Father and the Son. 



287 

CHAPTER 8 



The Holy Spirit is given by God alone, yet not wholly to each person, 
since there is no one besides Christ capable of receiving Him wholly. 
Charity is shed abroad by the Holy Spirit, Who, prefigured by the 
mystical ointment, is shown to have nothing common with creatures; 
and He, inasmuch as He is said to proceed from the mouth of God, 
must not be classed with creatures, nor with things divisible, seeing 
He is eternal. 

9 . bserve at the same time that God gives the Holy Spirit. For this is 
no work of man, nor girl of man; but He Who is invoked by the priest is 
given by God, wherein is the gift of God and the ministry of the priest. 
For if the Apostle Paul judged that he was not able to give the Holy Spirit 
himself by his own authority, and considered himself so far unequal to this 
office that he wished us to be filled by God with the Spirit, who is 
sufficient to dare to arrogate to himself the conferring of this gift? So the 
Apostle uttered this wish in prayer, and did not claim a fight by any 
authority of his own; he desired to obtain, he did not presume to 
command. Peter, too, says that he is not capable of compelling or 
restraining the Holy Spirit. For he spoke thus: 'Wherefore if God has 
granted them the same grace as to us, who was I that I could resist God?" 

91. But perchance they would not be moved by the example of apostles, 
and so let us use divine utterances; for it is written: "Jacob is My servant, 
I will uphold him; Israel is My elect, My soul hath upheld him, I put My 
Spirit upon him." The Lord also said by Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is 
upon Me, because He hath anointed Me." 

92. Who, then, can dare to say that the substance of the Holy Spirit is 
created, at Whose shining in our hearts we behold the beauty of divine 
truth, and the distance between the creature and the Godhead, that the 
work may be distinguished from its Author? Or of what creature has God 
so spoken as to say: "I will pour out of My Spirit"? He said not Spirit, 
but "of My Spirit," for we are not able to receive the fullness of the Holy 
Spirit, but we receive as much as our Master divides to us of His own 



288 

according to His will. For as the Son of God thought it not robbery that He 
should be equal to God, but emptied Himself, that we might be able to 
receive Him in our minds; but He emptied Himself not that He was void of 
His own fullness, but in order that He, Whose fullness I could not endure, 
might infuse Himself into me according to the measure of my capacity, in 
like manner also the Father says that He pours out of the Spirit upon all 
flesh; for He did not pour Him forth wholly, but that which He poured 
forth abounded for all. 

93. There was therefore a pouring out upon us of the Spirit, but upon the 
Lord Jesus, when He was in the form of man, the Spirit abode, as it is 
written: "Upon Whom thou shall see the Spirit descending from heaven, 
and abiding upon Him, He it is Who baptizeth in the Holy Spirit." Around 
us is the liberality of the Giver in abundant provision, in Him abides for 
ever the fullness of the Spirit. He shed forth then what He deemed to be 
sufficient for us, and what was shed forth is not separated nor divided; but 
He has a unity of fullness wherewith He may enlighten the sight of our 
hearts according to what our strength is capable of. Lastly, we receive so 
much as the advancing of our mind acquires, for the fullness of the grace of 
the Spirit is indivisible, but is Shared in by us according to the capacity of 
our own nature. 

94. God, then, sheds forth of the Spirit, and the love of God is also shed 
abroad through the Spirit; in which point we ought to recognize the unity 
of the operation and of the grace. For as God shed forth of the Holy Spirit, 
so also "the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy 
Spirit;" in order that we may understand that the Holy Spirit is not a 
work, Who is the dispenser and plenteous Fount of the divine love. 

95. In like manner that you may believe that that which is shed abroad 
cannot be common to the creatures but peculiar to the Godhead, the name 
of the Son is also poured forth, as you read: "Thy Name is as ointment 
poured forth." Of which saying nothing can surpass the force. For as 
ointment closed up in a vase keeps in its perfume, so long as it is confined 
in the narrow space of that vase, though it cannot reach many, it yet 
preserves its strength. But when the ointment has been poured out of that 
vase wherein it was enclosed, it spreads far and wide; so, too, the Name of 
Christ before His coming amongst the people of Israel was enclosed in the 



289 

minds of the Jews as in some vase. For "God is known in Judah, His 
Name is great in Israel;" that is, the Name which the vases of the Jews held 
confined in their narrow limits. 

96. Even then that Name was indeed great, when it remained in the narrow 
limits of the weak and few, but it had not yet poured forth its greatness 
throughout the hearts of the Gentiles, and to the ends of the whole world. 
But after that He by His coming had shone throughout the whole world, 
He spread abroad that divine Name of His throughout all creatures, not 
filled up by any addition (for fullness admits not of increase), but filling up 
the empty spaces, that His Name might be wonderful in all the world. The 
pouring forth, then, of His Name signifies a kind of abundant exuberance of 
graces and copiousness of heavenly goods, for whatever is poured forth 
flows over from abundance. 

97. So as wisdom which proceeds from the mouth of God cannot be said 
to be created, nor the Word Which is uttered from His heart, nor the power 
in which is the fullness of the eternal Majesty; so, too, the Spirit which is 
poured forth from the mouth of God cannot be considered to be created, 
since God Himself has shown their unity to be such that He speaks of His 
pouring forth of His Spirit. By which we understand that the grace of God 
the Father is the same as that of the Holy Spirit, and that without an y 
division or loss it is divided to the hearts of each. That, then, which is shed 
abroad of the Holy Spirit is neither severed, nor comprehended in any 
corporeal parts, nor divided. 

98. For how can it be credible that the Spirit should be divided, by any 
parceling out? John says of God: "Hereby know we that He abides in us 
by the Spirit which He hath given us. '" But that which abides always is 
certainly not changed, therefore if it suffers no change it is eternal. And so 
the Holy Spirit is eternal, but the creature is liable to fault, and therefore 
subject to change. But that which is subject to change cannot be eternal, 
and there cannot therefore be anything in common between the Spirit and 
the creature, because the Spirit is eternal, but every creature is temporal. 

99. But the Apostle also shows that the Holy Spirit is eternal, for: "If the 
blood of bulls and of goats, and the sprinkling the ashes of an heifer 
sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more the blood of 



290 

Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to 
God?" Therefore the Spirit is eternal. 



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The Holy Spirit is rightly called the ointment of Christ, and the oil 
of gladness; and why. Christ Himself is not the ointment, since He 
was anointed with the Holy Spirit. It is not strange that the Spirit 
should be called Ointment, since the Father and the Son are also 
called Spirit. And there is no confusion between them, since Christ 
alone suffered death, Whose saving cross is then spoken of. 

100. N ow many have thought that the Holy Spirit is the ointment of 
Christ, And well it is said ointment, because He is called the oil of 
gladness, the joining together of many graces giving a sweet fragrance. But 
God the Almighty Father anointed Him the Prince of priests, Who was, 
not like others anointed in a type under the Law, but was both according 
to the Law anointed in the body, and in truth was full with the virtue of 
the Holy Spirit from the Father above the Law. 

101. This is the oil of gladness, of which the prophet says: "God, even 
Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows." 
Lastly, Peter says that Jesus was anointed with the Spirit, as you read: 
"Ye know that word which went through all Judea beginning from Galilee 
after the baptism which John preached, even Jesus of Nazareth, how God 
anointed Him with the Holy Spirit." The Holy Spirit is, then, the oil of 
gladness. 

102. And well did he say oil of gladness, lest you should think Him a 
creature; for it is the nature of this sort of oil that it will by no means 
mingle with moisture of another kind. Gladness, too, does not anoint the 
body, but brightens the inmost heart, as the prophet said: "Thou hast put 
gladness in my heart." So as he loses his pains who wishes to mix oil with 
moister matter, because since the nature of oil is lighter than others, when 
the others settle, it rises and is separated. How do those wretched peddlers 
think that the oil of gladness can by their tricks be mingled with other 
creatures, since of a truth corporeal things cannot be mingled with in 
corporeal, nor things created with uncreated? 



292 

102. And well is that called oil of gladness wherewith Christ was anointed; 
for neither was usual nor common oil to be sought for Him, wherewith 
either wounds are dressed or heat assuaged; since the salvation of the 
world did not seek alleviation for His wounds, nor the eternal might of His 
wearied Body demand refreshment. 

103. Nor is it wonderful if He have the oil of gladness, Who made those 
about to die rejoice, put off sadness from the world, destroyed the odor of 
sorrowful death. And so the Apostle says: "For we are the good odor of 
Christ to God;" certainly showing that he is speaking of spiritual things. 
But when the Son of God Himself says: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon 
Me, because He hath anointed Me," He points out the ointment of the 
Spirit. Therefore the Spirit is the ointment of Christ. 

104. Or since the Name of Jesus is as ointment poured out, if they wish to 
understand Christ Himself, and not the Spirit of Christ to be expressed 
under the name of ointment, certainly when the Apostle Peter says that 
the Lord Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit, it is without doubt plain 
that the Spirit also is called ointment. 

105. But what wonder, since both the Father and the Son are said to be 
Spirit. Of which we shall speak more fully when we begin to speak of the 
Unity of the Name. Yet since most suitable place occurs here, that we may 
not seem to have passed on without a conclusion, let them read that both 
the Father is called Spirit, as the Lord said in the Gospel, "for God is 
Spirit;" and Christ is called Spirit, for Jeremiah said: "The Spirit before our 
face, Christ the Lord." 

106. So, then, both the Father is Spirit and Christ is Spirit, for that which 
is not a created body is spirit, but the Holy Spirit is not commingled with 
the Father and the Son, but is distinct from the Father and from the Son. 
For the Holy Spirit did not die, Who could not die because He had not 
taken flesh upon Him, and the eternal Godhead was incapable of dying, 
but Christ died according to the flesh. 

107. For of a truth He died in that which He took of the Virgin, not in that 
which He had of the Father, for Christ died in that nature in which He was 
crucified. But the Holy Spirit could not be crucified, Who had not flesh 
and bones, but the Son of God was crucified, Who took flesh and bones, 



293 

that on that cross the temptations of our flesh might die. For He took on 
Him that which He was not that He might hide that which He was; He hid 
that which He was that He might be tempted in it, and that which He was 
not might be redeemed, in order that He might call us by means of that 
which He was not to that which He was. 

108. O the divine mystery of that cross, on which weakness hangs, might 
is free, vices are nailed, and triumphal trophies raised. So that a certain 
saint said: "Pierce my flesh with nails for fear of Thee;" he says not with 
nails of iron, but of fear and faith. For the bonds of virtue are stronger than 
those of punishment. Lastly, his faith bound Peter, when he had followed 
the Lord as far as the hall of the high priest, whom no one had bound, and 
punishment loosened not him, whom faith bound. Again, when he was 
bound by the Jews, prayer loosed him, punishment did not hold him, 
because he had not gone back from Christ. 

109. Therefore do you also crucify sin, that you may die to sin; he who 
dies to sin lives to God; do you live to Him Who spared not His own Son, 
that in His body He might crucify our passions. For Christ died for us, 
that we might live in His revived Body. Therefore not our life but our guilt 
died in Him, "Who," it is said, "bare our sins in His own Body on the tree; 
that being set free from our sins we might live in righteousness, by the 
wound of Whose stripes we are healed." 

1 10. That wood of the cross is, then, as it were a kind of ship of our 
salvation, our passage, not a punishment, for there is no other salvation 
but the passage of eternal salvation. Whilst expecting death I do not feel it; 
whilst thinking little of punishment I do not suffer; whilst careless of fear I 
know it not. 

111. Who, then, is He by the wound of Whose stripes we are healed but 
Christ the Lord? of Whom the same Isaiah prophesied His stripes were 
our healing, of Whom Paul the Apostle wrote in his epistle: "Who knew 
no sin, but was made sin for us." This, indeed, was divine in Him, that His 
Flesh did no sin, nor did the creature of the body take in Him sin. For what 
wonder would it be if the Godhead alone sinned not, seeing It had no 
incentives to sin? But if God alone is free from sin, certainly every creature 
by its own nature can be, as we have said, liable to sin. 



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CHAPTER 10 



That the Spirit forgives sin is common to Him with the Father and 
the Son, but not with the Angels. 

1 1 2 . T ell me, then, whoever you are who deny the Godhead of the Holy 
Spirit. The Spirit could not be liable to sin, Who rather forgives sin. Does 
an Angel forgive? Does an Archangel? Certainly not, but the Father alone, 
the Son alone, and the Holy Spirit alone. Now no one is unable to avoid 
that which he has power to forgive. 

113. But perhaps some one will say that the Seraph said to Isaiah: 
"Behold, this hath touched thy lips, and shall take away thine iniquities, 
and purge away thy sins." Shall take away, he says, and shall purge, not I 
will take away, but that fire from the altar of God, that is, the grace of the 
Spirit. For what else can we piously understand to be on the altar of God 
but the grace of the Spirit? Certainly not the wood of the forests, nor the 
soot and coals. Or what is so in accordance with piety as to understand 
according to the mystery that it was revealed by the mouth of Isaiah that 
all men should be cleansed by the passion of Christ, Who as a coal 
according to the flesh burnt up our sins, as you read in Zechariah: "Is not 
this a brand cast forth from the fire? And that was Joshua clothed in filthy 
garments." 

114. Lastly, that we may know that this mystery of the common 
redemption was most clearly revealed by the prophets, you have also in 
this place: "Lo, it hath taken away thy sins;" not that Christ put aside His 
sins Who did no sin, but that in the flesh of Christ the whole human race 
should be loosed from their sins. 

115. But even if the Seraph had taken away sin, it would have been as one 
of the ministers of God appointed to this mystery. For thus said Isaiah: 
"For one of the Seraphim was sent to me." 



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The Spirit is sent to all, and passes not from place to place, for He is 
not limited either by time or space. He goes forth from the Son, as 
the Son from the Father, in Whom He ever abides: and also comes to 
us when we receive. He comes also after the same manner as the 
Father Himself, from Whom He can by no means be separated. 

1 16. The Spirit, also, is indeed said to be sent, but the Seraph to one, the 
Spirit to all. The Seraph is sent to minister, the Spirit works a mystery. 
The Seraph performs what is commanded, the Spirit divides as He wills. 
The Seraph passes from place to place, for he does not fill all things, but is 
himself filled by the Spirit. The Seraph comes down with a certain mode of 
passage according to his nature, but we cannot think this of the Spirit, of 
Whom the Son ofGod says: "When the Paraclete shall come, even the 
Spirit of Truth, Whom I send unto you, Who proceedeth from the Father." 

117. For if the Spirit proceeds from a place and passes to a place, both the 
Father Himself will be found in a place, and the Son likewise. If He goes 
forth from a place, Whom the Father or the Son sends, certainly the Spirit 
passing from a place, and making progress, seems to leave, according to 
those impious interpretations, both the Father and the Son like some 
material body. 

1 18. I am saying this with reference to those who say that the Spirit comes 
down by movement. But neither the Father, Who is above all not only of 
corporeal nature, but also of the invisible creation, is circumscribed in any 
place; nor is the Son, Who, as the Worker of all creation, is above every 
creature, enclosed by the places or times of His own works; nor is the 
Spirit of Truth as being the Spirit of God, circumscribed by any corporeal 
limits, Who since He is incorporeal is far above the whole rational creation 
through the ineffable fullness of His Godhead, having over all things the 
power of breathing where He wills, and of inspiring as He wills. 

119. The Spirit is not, then, sent as it were from a place, nor does He 
proceed as from a place, when He proceeds from the Son, as the Son 
Himself, when He says, "I came forth from the Father, and am come into 



296 

the world," destroys all fancies, which can be reckoned as from place to 
place. In like manner, also, when we read that God is within or without, 
we certainly do not either enclose God within anybody or separate Him 
from anybody, but weighing these things in a deep and ineffable 
estimation, we comprehend the hiddenness of the divine nature. 

120. Lastly, Wisdom so says that she came forth from the mouth of the 
Most High, as not to be external to the Father, but with the Father; for 
"the Word was with God;" and not only with God but also in God; for He 
says: "I am in the Father and the Father is in Me." But neither when He 
goes forth from the Father does He retire from a place, nor is He separated 
as a body from a body; nor when He is in the Father is He as if a body 
enclosed as it were in a body. The Holy Spirit also, when He proceeds 
from the Father and the Son, is not separated from the Father nor 
separated from the Son. For how could He be separated from the Father 
Who is the Spirit of His mouth? Which is certainly both a proof of His 
eternity, and expresses the Unity of this Godhead. 

121. He exists then, and abides always, Who is the Spirit of His mouth, 
but He seems to come down when we receive Him, that He may dwell in 
us, that we may not be alien from His grace. To us He seems to come 
down, not that He does come down, but that our mind ascends to Him. Of 
which we would speak more fully did we not remember that in the former 
treatise there was set forth that the Father said: "Let us go down and 
confound their language," and that the Son said: "He that loveth Me will 
keep My saying, and My Father will love him, and We will come to Him 
and make Our abode with Him." 

122. The Spirit, then, so comes as does the Father, for where the Father is 
there is also the Son, and where the Son is there is the Holy Spirit. The 
Holy Spirit, therefore, is not to be supposed to come separately. But He 
comes not from place to place, but from the disposition of the order to the 
safety of redemption, from the grace of giving life to that of sanctification, 
to translate us from earth to heaven, from wretchedness to glory, from 
slavery to a kingdom. 

123. The Spirit comes, then, as the Father comes. For the Son said, "I and 
the Father will come, and will make Our abode with Him." Does the Father 



297 

come in a bodily fashion? Thus, then, comes the Spirit in Whom, when He 
comes, is the full presence of the Father and the Son. 

124. But who can separate the Spirit from the Father and the Son, since we 
cannot even name the Father and the Son without the Spirit? "For no one 
saith Lord Jesus, except in the Holy Spirit?" If, then, we cannot call Jesus 
Lord except in the Holy Spirit, we certainly cannot proclaim Him without 
the Spirit. But if the Angels also proclaim Jesus to be Lord, Whom no one 
can proclaim except in the Spirit, then in them also the office of the Holy 
Spirit operates. 

125. We have proved, then, that the presence and the grace of the Father, 
the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one, which is so heavenly and divine that 
the Son gives thanks therefore to the Father, saying, "I give thanks to 
Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hidden these 
things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." 



298 

CHAPTER 12 

The peace and grace of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are 
one, so also is Their charity one, which showed itself chiefly in the 
redemption of man. Their communion with man is also one. 

1 2 6 . T herefore since the calling is one, the grace is also one. Lastly, it is 
written: "Grace unto you and peace from God our Father, and from the 
Lord Jesus Christ." You see, then, that we are told that the grace of the 
Father and the Son is one, and the peace of the Father and the Son is one, 
but this grace and peace is the fruit of the Spirit, as the Apostle taught us 
himself, saying: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience." 
And peace is good and necessary that no one be troubled with doubtful 
disputations, nor be shaken by the storm of bodily passions, but that his 
affections may remain quietly disposed as to the worship of God, with 
simplicity of faith and tranquillity of mind. 

127. As to peace we have proved the point; but as to grace the prophet 
Zechariah says, that God promised to pour upon Jerusalem the spirit of 
grace and mercy, and the Apostle Peter says: "Repent and be baptized 
every one of you in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of 
sins, and ye shall receive the grace of the Holy Spirit." So grace comes also 
of the Holy Spirit as of the Father and the Son. For how can there be grace 
without the Spirit, since all divine grace is in the Spirit? 

128. Nor do we read only of the peace and grace of the Father, the Son, 
and the Holy Spirit, but also, faithful Emperor, of the love and 
communion. For of love it has been said: "The grace of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, and the love of God." We have heard of the love of the Father. The 
same love which is the Father's is also the Son's. For He Himself said: 
"He that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him," And 
what is the love of the Son, but that He offered Himself for us, and 
redeemed us with His own blood. But the same love is in the Father, for it 
is written: "God so loved the world, that He gave His Only-begotten Son." 
s 



299 

129. So, then, the Father gave the Son, and the Son gave Himself. Love is 
preserved and due affection is not wronged, for affection is not wronged 
where there is no distress in the giving up. He gave one Who was willing, 
He gave One Who offered Himself, the Father did not give the Son to 
punishment but to grace. If you enquire into the merit of the deed, enquire 
into the description of the affection. The vessel of election shows plainly 
the unity of this divine love, because both the Father gave the Son and the 
Son gave Himself. The Father gave, Who "spared not His own Son, but 
gave Him up for us all." And of the Son he also says: "Who gave Himself 
for me." "Gave Himself," he says. If it be of grace, what do I find fault 
with. If it be that He suffered wrong, I owe the more. 

130. But learn that in like manner as the Father gave the Son, and the Son 
gave Himself, so, too, the Holy Spirit gave Him. For it is written: "Then 
was Jesus led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the 
devil." So, too, the loving Spirit gave the Son of God. For as the love of the 
Father and the Son is one, so, too, we have shown that this love of God is 
shed abroad by the Holy Spirit, and is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, because 
"the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience." 

131. And that there is communion between the Father and the Son is plain, 
for it is written: "And our communion is with the Father and with His Son 
Jesus Christ." And in another place: "The communion of the Holy Spirit 
be with you all." If, then, the peace of the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Spirit is one, the grace one, the love one, and the communion one, the 
working is certainly one, and where the working is one, certainly the 
power cannot be divided nor the substance separated. For, if so, how could 
the grace of the same working agree? 



300 

CHAPTER 13 



St. Ambrose shows from the Scriptures that the Name of the Three 
Divine Persons is one, and first the unity of the Name of the Son and 
of the Holy Spirit, inasmuch as each is called Paraclete and Truth. 

132. W ho, then, would dare to deny the oneness of Name, when he sees 
the oneness of the working. But why should I maintain the unity of the 
Name by arguments, when there is the plain testimony of the Divine Voice 
that the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is one? For it is 
written: "Go, baptize all nations in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, 
and of the Holy Spirit." He said, "in the Name," not "in the Names." So, 
then, the Name of the Father is not one, that of the Son another, and that 
of the Holy Spirit another, for God is one; the Names are not more than 
one, for there are not two Gods, or three Gods. 

132. And that He might reveal that the Godhead is one and the Majesty 
one, because the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is one, 
and the Son did not come in one Name and the Holy Spirit in another, the 
Lord Himself said: "I am come in My Father's Name, and ye did not 
receive Me, if another shall come in his own name ye will receive him." 

133. And Scripture makes clear that that which is the Father's Name, the 
same is also that of the Son, for the Lord said in Exodus: "I will go before 
thee in My Name, and will call by My Name the Lord before thee." So, 
then, the Lord said that He would call the Lord by His Name. The Lord, 
then, is the Name of the Father and of the Son. 

134. But since the Name of the Father and of the Son is one, learn that the 
same is the Name of the Holy Spirit also, since the Holy Spirit came in the 
Name of the Son, as it is written: "But the Paraclete, even the Holy Spirit, 
Whom the Father will send in My Name, He shall teach you all things.". 
But He Who came in the Name of the Son came also certainly in the Name 
of the Father, for the Name of the Father and of the Son is one. Thus it 
comes to pass that the Name of the Father and of the Son is also that of 
the Holy Spirit. For there is no other Name given under heaven wherein we 
must be saved. 



301 

155. At the same time He showed that the oneness of the Divine Name 
must be taught, not the difference, since Christ came in the oneness of the 
Name, but Antichrist will come in his own name, as it is written: "I am 
come in My Father's Name, and ye did not receive Me, if another shall 
come in his own name, ye will receive him." 

156. We are, then, clearly taught by these passages that there is no 
difference of Name in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and that 
that which is the Name of the Father is also the Name of the Son, and 
likewise that which is the Name of the Son is also that of the Holy Spirit, 
when the Son also is called Paraclete, as is the Holy Spirit. And therefore 
does the Lord Jesus say in the Gospel: "I will ask My Father, and He shall 
give you another Paraclete, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of 
Truth." And He said well "another," that you might not suppose that the 
Son is also the Spirit, for oneness is of the Name, not a Sabellian confusion 
of the Son and of the Spirit. 

157. So, then, the Son is one Paraclete, the Holy Spirit another Paraclete; 
for John called the Son a Paraclete, as you find: "If any man sin, we have a 
Paraclete [Advocate] with the Father, Jesus Christ." So in like manner as 
there is a oneness of name, so, too, is there a oneness of power, for where 
the Paraclete Spirit is, there is also the Son. 

158. For as the Lord says in this place that the Spirit will be forever with 
the faithful, so, too, does He elsewhere show that He will Himself be 
forever with the apostles, saying: "Lo, I am with you always, even to the 
end of the world." Therefore the Son and the Spirit are one, the Name of 
the Trinity is one, and the Presence one and indivisible. 

159. But as we show that the Son is called the Paraclete, so, too, do we 
show that the Spirit is called the Truth. Christ is the Truth, the Spirit is 
the Truth, for you find in John's epistle: "For the Spirit is Truth." Not 
only, then, is the Spirit called the Spirit of Truth, but also the Truth, as the 
Son is also declared to be the Truth, Who says: "I am the Way, the Truth, 
and the Life." 



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CHAPTER 14 



Each Person of the Trinity is said in the sacred writings to be Light. 
The Spirit is designated Fire by Isaiah, a figure of which Fire was 
seen in the bush by Moses, in the tongues of fire, and in Gideon's 
pitchers. And the Godhead of the same Spirit cannot be denied, since 
His operation is the same as that of the Father and of the Son, and 
He is also called the light and fire of the Lord's countenance. 

1 60 . B ut why should I argue that as the Father is light, so, too, the Son is 
light, and the Holy Spirit is light? Which certainly pertains to the power of 
God. For God is Light, as John said: "For God is Light, and in Him is no 
darkness." 

161. But the Son, too, is Light, because "the Life was the Light of men." 
And the Evangelist, that he might show that he was speaking of the Son of 
God, says of John the Baptist: "He was not light, but [was sent] to be a 
witness of the Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man 
that cometh into this world." So, then, since God is Light, and the Son of 
God the true Light, without doubt the Son of God is true God. 

162. And you find elsewhere that the Son of God is Light: "The people 
that sat in darkness and in the shadow of death have seen a great Light." 
But, which is still more clear, it is said: "For with Thee is the fount of Life, 
and in Thy light we shall see light," which means that with Thee, O God 
the Father Almighty, Who art the Fount of Life, in Thy Son Who is the 
Light, we shall see the light of the Holy Spirit. As the Lord Himself 
shows, saying: "Receive ye the Holy Spirit," and elsewhere: "Virtue went 
out from Him." 

163. But who can doubt that the Father is Light, when we read of His Son 
that He is the Brightness of eternal Light? For of Whom but of the Father 
is the Son the Brightness, Who both is always with the Father, and always 
shines, not with unlike but with the same radiance. 

164. And Isaiah shows that the Holy Spirit is not only Light but also Fire, 
saying: "And the light of Israel shall be for a fire." So the prophets called 



303 

Him a burning Fire, because in those three points we see more intensely 
the majesty of the Godhead; since to sanctify is of the Godhead, to 
illuminate is the property of fire and light, and the Godhead is wont to be 
pointed out or seen in the appearance of fire: "For our God is a consuming 
Fire," as Moses said. 

165. For he himself saw the fire in the bush, and had heard God when the 
voice from the flame of fire came to him saying: "I am the God of 
Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." The voice came 
from the fire, and the voice was in the bush, and the fire did no harm. For 
the bush was burning but was not consumed, because in that mystery the 
Lord was showing that He would come to illuminate the thorns of our 
body, and not to consume those who were in misery, but to alleviate their 
misery; Who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire, that He 
might give grace and destroy sin. So in the symbol of fire God keeps His 
intention. 

166. In the Acts of the Apostles, also, when the Holy Spirit had 
descended upon the faithful, the appearance of fire was seen, for you read 
thus: "And suddenly there was a sound from heaven, as though the Spirit 
were borne with great vehemence, and it filled all the house where they 
were sitting, and there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire." 

167. For the same reason was it that when Gideon was about to overcome 
the Midianites, he commanded three hundred men to take pitchers, and to 
hold lighted torches inside the pitchers, and trumpets in their right hands. 
Our predecessors have preserved the explanation received from the 
apostles, that the pitchers are our bodies, fashioned of clay, which know 
not fear if they burn with the fervor of the grace of the Spirit, and bear 
witness to the passion of the Lord Jesus with a loud confession of the 
Voice. 

168. Who, then, can doubt of the Godhead of the Holy Spirit, since where 
the grace of the Spirit is, there the manifestation of the Godhead appears. 
By which evidence we infer not a diversity but the unity of the divine 
power. For how can there be a severance of power, where the effect of the 
working in all is one? 



304 

169. What, then, is that fire? Not certainly one made up of common twigs, 
or roaring with the burning of the reeds of the woods, but that fire which 
improves good deeds like gold, and consumes sins like stubble. This is 
undoubtedly the Holy Spirit, Who is called both the fire and light of the 
countenance of God; light as we said above: "The light of Thy countenance 
has been sealed upon us, O Lord." What is, then, the light that is sealed, 
but that of the seal of the Spirit, believing in Whom, "ye were sealed," he 
says, "with the Holy Spirit of promise." 

170. And as there is a light of the divine countenance, so, too, does fire 
shine forth from the countenance of God, for it is written: "A fire shall 
burn in His sight." For the grace of the day of judgment shines beforehand, 
that forgiveness may follow to reward the service of the saints. O the great 
fullness of the Scriptures, which no one can comprehend with human 
genius! O greatest proof of the Divine Unity For how many things are 
pointed out in these two verses! 



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CHAPTER 15 

The Holy Spirit is Life equally with the Father and the Son, in truth 
whether the Father be mentioned, with Whom is the Fount of Life, 
or the Son, that Fount can be none other than the Holy Spirit. 

171. We have said that the Father is Light, the Son is Light, and the Holy 
Spirit is Light; let us also learn that the Father is Life, the Son Life, and the 
Holy Spirit Life. For John said: "That which was from the beginning, that 
which we have heard, and which we have seen, and have beheld with our 
eyes, and our hands have handled concerning the Word of Life; and the Life 
appeared, and we saw and testify, and declare to you of that Life which 
was with the Father." He said both Word of Life and Life that he might 
signify both the Father and the Son to be Life. For what is the Word of 
Life but the Word of God? And by this phrase both God and the Word of 
God are shown to be Life. And as it is said the Word of Life, so, too, the 
Spirit of Life. Therefore, as the W ord of Life is Life, so, too, the Spirit of 
Life is Life. 

172. Learn now that as the Father is the Fount of Life, so, too, many have 
stated that the Son is signified as the Fount of Life; so that, he says, with 
Thee, Almighty God, Thy Son is the Fount of Life. That is the Fount of 
the Holy Spirit, for the Spirit is Life, as the Lord says: "The words which 
I speak unto you are Spirit and Life," for where the Spirit is, there also is 
Life; and where Life is, is also the Holy Spirit. 

173. Many, however, consider that in this passage the Father only is 
signified by the Fount. Let them, however, notice what the Scripture 
relates: "With Thee is the Well of Life." That is, the Son is with the 
Father; since the Word was with God, Who was in the beginning, and was 
with God. 

174. But whether in this place one understands the Fount to be the Father 
or the Son, we certainly do not understand a fount of that water which is 
created, but the Fount of that divine grace, that is, of the Holy Spirit, for 
He is the living water. Wherefore the Lord said: "If thou knowest the gift 



306 

of God, and Who He is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldst 
have asked Him, and He would have given thee living water." 

175. This was the water for which the soul of David thirsted. The hart 
desires the fountain of these waters, not thirsting for the poison of 
serpents. For the water of the grace of the Spirit is living, that it may 
purify the inner parts of the mind, and wash away every sin of the soul, 
and purify the transgression of hidden faults. 



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CHAPTER 16 



The Holy Spirit is that large river by which the mystical Jerusalem 
is watered. It is equal to its Fount, that is, the Father and the Son, as 
is signified in holy Scripture. St. Ambrose himself thirsts for that 
water, and warns us that in order to preserve it within us, we must 
avoid the devil, lust, and heresy, since our vessels are frail, and that 
broken cisterns must be forsaken, that after the example of the 
Samaritan woman and of the patriarchs we may find the water of the 
Lord. 

176. B ut lest perchance any one should speak against as it were the 
littleness of the Spirit, and from this should endeavor to establish a 
difference in greatness, arguing that water seems to be but a small part of a 
Fount, although examples taken from creatures seem by no means suitable 
for application to the Godhead; yet lest they should judge anything 
injuriously from this comparison taken from creatures, let them learn that 
not only is the Holy Spirit called Water, but also a River, as we read: 
"From his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this He said of the 
Spirit, Whom they were beginning to receive, who were about to believe in 
Him." 

177. So, then, the Holy Spirit is the River, and the abundant River, which 
according to the Hebrews flowed from Jesus in the lands, as we have 
received it prophesied by the mouth of Isaiah. This is the great River 
which flows always and never fails. And not only a river, but also one of 
copious stream and overflowing greatness, as also David said: "The stream 
of the river makes glad the city of God." 

178. For neither is that city, the heavenly Jerusalem, watered by the 
channel of any earthly river, but that Holy Spirit, proceeding from the 
Fount of Life, by a short draught of Whom we are satiated, seems to flow 
more abundantly among those celestial Thrones, Dominions and Powers, 
Angels and Archangels, rushing in the full course of the seven virtues of 
the Spirit. For if a river rising above its banks overflows, how much more 
does the Spirit, rising above every creature, when He touches the as it were 



308 

low-lying fields of our minds, make glad that heavenly nature of the 
creatures with the larger fertility of His sanctification. 

179. And let it not trouble you that either here it is said "rivers," or 
elsewhere "seven Spirits," for by the sanctification of these seven gifts of 
the Spirit, as Isaiah said, is signified the fullness of all virtue; the Spirit of 
wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of 
knowledge and godliness, and the Spirit of the fear of God. One, then, is 
the River, but many the channels of the girls of the Spirit. This River, then, 
goes forth from the Fount of Life. 

180. And here, again, you must not turn aside your thoughts to lower 
things, because there seems to be some difference between a Fount and a 
River, and yet the divine Scripture has provided that the weakness of 
human understanding should not be injured by the lowliness of the 
language. Set before yourself any river, it springs from its fount, but is of 
one nature, of one brightness and beauty. And do you assert rightly that 
the Holy Spirit is of one substance, brightness, and glory with the Son of 
God and with God the Father. I will sum up all in the oneness of the 
qualities, and shall not be afraid of any question as to difference of 
greatness. For in this point also Scripture has provided for us; for the Son 
of God says: "He that shall drink of the water which I will give him, it 
shall become in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life." 
This well is clearly the grace of the Spirit, a stream proceeding from the 
living Fount. The Holy Spirit, then, is also the Fount of eternal life. 

181. You observe, then, from His words that the unity of the divine 
greatness is pointed out, and that Christ cannot be denied to be a Fount 
even by heretics, since the Spirit, too, is called a Fount. And as the Spirit 
is called a river, so, too, the Father said: "Behold, I come down upon you 
like a river of peace, and like a stream overflowing the glory of the 
Gentiles." And who can doubt that the Son of God is the River of life, 
from Whom the streams of eternal life flowed forth? 

182. Good, then, is this water, even the grace of the Spirit. Who will give 
this Fount to my breast? Let it spring up in me, let that which gives eternal 
life flow upon me. Let that Fount overflow upon us, and not flow away. 
For Wisdom says: "Drink water out of thine own vessels, and from the 



309 

founts of thine own wells, and let thy waters flow abroad in thy streets." 
How shall I keep this water that it flow not forth, that it glide not away? 
How shall I preserve my vessel, lest any crack of sin penetrating it, should 
let the water of eternal life exude? Teach us, Lord Jesus, teach us as Thou 
didst teach Thine apostles, saying: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures 
upon the earth, where rust and moth destroy, and where thieves break 
through and steal." 

182. For He intimates that the thief is the unclean spirit, who cannot find 
entrance into those who walk in the light of good works, but if he has 
caught any one in the darkness of earthly desires, and in the midst of the 
enjoyment of earthly pleasures, he spoils them of all the flower of eternal 
virtue. And therefore the Lord says: "Lay up for yourselves treasures in 
heaven, where neither rust nor moth destroy, and where thieves do not 
break through and steal. For where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be 
also." 

183. Our rust is wantonness, our rust is lust, our rust is luxury, which dim 
the keen vision of the mind with the filth of vices. Again, our moth is 
Arius, our moth is Photinus, who rend the holy vesture of the Church with 
their impiety, and desiring to separate the indivisible unity of the divine 
power, gnaw the precious veil of faith with sacrilegious tooth. The water is 
spilt if Arius has imprinted his tooth, it flows away if Photinus has 
planted his sting in any one's vessel. We are but of common clay, we 
quickly feel vices. But no one says to the potter, "Why hast Thou made 
me thus?" For though our vessel be but common, yet one is in honor, 
another in dishonor. Do not then lay open thy pool, dig not with vices and 
crimes, lest any one say: "He hath opened a pool and digged it, and is 
fallen into the pit which he made." 

184. If you seek Jesus, forsake the broken cisterns, for Christ was wont to 
sit not by a pool but by a well. There that Samaritan roman found Him, 
she who believed, she who wished to draw water. Although you ought to 
have come in early morning, nevertheless if you come later, even at the 
sixth hour, you will find Jesus wearied with His journey. He is weary, but 
it is through thee, because He has long sought thee, thy unbelief has long 
wearied Him. Yet He is not offended if thou only comest, He asks to drink 
Who is about to give. But He drinks not the water of a stream flowing by, 



310 

but thy salvation; He drinks thy good dispositions, He drinks the cup, that 
is, the Passion which stoned for thy sins, that thou drinking of His sacred 
blood mightest quench the thirst of this world. 

185. So Abraham gained God after he had dug the well. So Isaac, while 
walking by the well, received that wife who was coming to him as a type 
of the Church. Faithful he was at the well, unfaithful at the pool. Lastly, 
too, Rebecca, as we read, found him who sought her at the well, and the 
harlots washed themselves in the blood in the pool of Jezebel. 



311 

BOOK II 

INTRODUCTION 



The Three Persons of the Godhead were not unknown to the judges 
of old nor to Moses, for the equality of the Son with the Father, as 
well as of the Three Persons amongst Themselves, is laid down both 
elsewhere and by him. Samson also enjoyed the assistance of the 
Holy Spirit, his history is touched upon and shown to be in some 
points typical of the Church and her mysteries. When the Holy 
Spirit left Samson he fell into various calamities, and St. Ambrose 
explains the spiritual significance of his shorn locks. 

1 . Even in reading the first book of the ancient history it is made clear both 
that the sevenfold grace of the Spirit shone forth in the judges themselves 
of the Jews, and that the mysteries of the heavenly sacraments were made 
known by the Spirit, of Whose eternity Moses was not ignorant. Then, 
too, at the very beginning of the world, and indeed before its beginning, he 
conjoined Him with God, Whom he knew to be eternal before the 
beginning of the world. For if any one takes good heed he will recognize in 
the beginning both the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. For of the Father it 
is written: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Of the 
Spirit it is said: "The Spirit was borne upon the waters." And well in the 
beginning of creation is there set forth the figure of baptism whereby the 
creature had to be purified. And of the Son we read that He it is Who 
divided light from darkness, for there is one God the Father Who speaks, 
and one God the Son Who acts. 

2. But, again, that you may not think that there was assumption in the 
bidding of Him Who spoke, or inferiority on the part of Him Who carried 
out the bidding, the Father' acknowledges the Son as equal to Himself in 
the execution of the work, saying: "Let Us make man after Our image and 
likeness." For the common image and the working and the likeness can 
signify nothing but the oneness of the same Majesty. 



312 

3. But that we may more fully recognize the equality of the Father and the 
Son, as the Father spoke, the Son made, so, too, the Father works and the 
Son speaks. The Father works, as it is written: "My Father worketh 
hitherto." You find it said to the Son: "Say the word and he shall be 
healed." And the Son says to the Father: "I will that where I am, they too 
shall be with Me." The Father did what the Son said. 

4. But neither was Abraham ignorant of the Holy Spirit; he saw Three and 
worshipped One, for there is one God, one Lord, and one Spirit. And so 
there is a oneness of honor, because there is a oneness of power. 

5. And why should I speak of all one by one? Samson, born by the divine 
promise, had the Spirit accompanying him, for we read: "The Lord blessed 
him, and the Spirit of the Lord began to be with him in the camp." s And 
so foreshadowing the future mystery, he demanded a wife of the aliens, 
which, as it is written, his father and mother knew not of, because it was 
from the Lord. And rightly was he esteemed stronger than others, because 
the Spirit of the Lord guided him, under Whose guidance he alone put to 
flight the people of the aliens, and at another time inaccessible to the bite 
of the lion, he, unconquerable in his strength, tore him asunder with his 
hands. Would that he had been as careful to preserve grace, as strong to 
overcome the beast! 

6. And perhaps this was not only a prodigy of valor, but also a mystery of 
wisdom, an utterance of prophecy. For it does not seem to have been 
without a purpose that, as he was going to his marriage, a roaring lion met 
him, which he tore asunder with his hands, in whose body, when about to 
enjoy the wished-for wedlock, he found a swarm of bees, and took honey 
from its mouth, which he gave to his father and mother to eat. The people 
of the Gentiles which believed had honey, the people which was before 
savage is now the people of Christ. 

7. Nor is the riddle without mystery, which he set forth to his 
companions: "Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came 
forth sweetness." And there was a mystery up to the point of the three 
days in which its answer was sought in vain, which could not be made 
known except by the faith of the Church, on the seventh day, the time of 
the Law being completed, after the Passion of the Lord. For thus you find 



313 

that the apostles did not understand, "because Jesus was not yet 
glorified." 

8. "What," answer they, "is sweeter than honey, and what is stronger than 
a lion?" To which he replied: "If ye had not farmed with my heifer, you 
would not have found out my riddle." O divine mystery! O manifest 
sacrament! we have escaped from the slayer, we have overcome the strong 
one. The food of life is now there, where before was the hunger of a 
miserable death. Dangers are changed into safety, bitterness into 
sweetness. Grace came forth from the offense, power from weakness, and 
life from death. 

9. There are, however, who think on the other hand that the wedlock could 
not have been established unless the lion of the tribe of Judah had been 
slain; and so in His body, that is, the Church, bees were found who store 
up the honey of wisdom, because after the Passion of the Lord the 
apostles believed more fully. This lion, then, Samson as a Jew slew, but in 
it he found honey, as in the figure of the heritage which was to be 
redeemed, that the remnant might be saved according to the election of 
grace. 

10. "And the Spirit of the Lord," it is said, "came upon him, and he went 
down to Ascalon, and smote thirty men of them." For he could not fail to 
carry off the victory who saw the mysteries. And so in the garments they 
receive the reward of wisdom, the badge of intercourse, who resolve and 
answer the riddle. 

11. Here, again, other mysteries come up, in that his wife is taken away, 
and for this foxes set fire to the sheaves of the aliens. For their own 
cunning often deceives those who contend against divine mysteries. 
Wherefore it is said again in the Song of Songs: "Take us the little foxes 
which destroy the vineyards, that our vineyards may flourish." He said 
well "little," because the larger could not destroy the vineyards, though to 
the strong even the devil is weak. 

12. So, then, he (to sum up the story briefly, for the consideration of the 
whole passage is reserved for its own season) was unconquered so long as 
he kept the grace of the Spirit, as was the people of God chosen by the 
Lord, that Nazarite under the Law. Samson, then, was unconquered, and so 



314 

invincible as to be able to smite a thousand men with the jawbone of an 
ass; so full of heavenly grace that when thirsty he found even water in the 
jawbone of an ass, whether you consider this as a miracle, or turn it to a 
mystery, because in the humility of the people of the Gentiles there would 
be both rest and triumph according to that which is written: "He that 
smiteth thee on the cheek, turn to him also the other." For by this 
endurance of injuries, which the sacrament of baptism teaches, we triumph 
over the stings of auger, that having passed through death we may attain to 
the rest of the resurrection. 

13. Is that, then, Samson who broke ropes twisted with thongs, and new 
cords like weak threads? Is that Samson who did not feel the bonds of his 
hair fastened to the beam, so long as he had the grace of the Spirit? He, I 
say, after the Spirit of God departed from him, was greatly changed from 
that Samson Who returned clothed in the spoils of the aliens, but fallen 
from his greatness on the knees of a woman, caressed and deceived, is 
shorn of his hair. 

14. Was, then, the hair of his head of such importance that, so long as it 
remained, his strength should endure unconquered, but when his head was 
shorn the man should suddenly lose all his strength? It is not so, nor may 
we think that the hair of his head has such power. There is the hair of 
religion and faith; the hair of the Nazarite perfect in the Law, consecrated 
in sparingness and abstinence, with which she (a type of the Church), who 
poured ointment on the feet of the Lord, wiped the feet of the heavenly 
Word, for then she knew Christ also after the flesh. That hair it is of which 
it is said: "Thy hair is as flocks of goats," growing on that head of which it 
is said: "The head of the man is Christ," and in another place: "His head is 
as fine gold, and his locks like black pine-trees." 

15. And so, also, in the Gospel our Lord, pointing out that some hairs are 
seen and known, says: "But even the hairs of your head are all numbered," 
implying, indeed, acts of spiritual virtues, for God does not take care for 
our hair. Though, indeed, it is not absurd to believe that literally, seeing 
that according to His divine Majesty nothing can be hidden from Him. 

16. But what does it profit me, if God Himself knows all my hairs? That 
rather abounds and profits me, if the watchful witness of good works 



315 

reward me with the gift of eternal life. And, in fine, Samson himself, 
declaring that these hairs are not mystical, says: "If I be shorn my strength 
will depart from me." So much concerning the mystery, let us now 
consider the order of the passage. 



316 
CHAPTER 1 



The Spirit is the Lord and Power; and in this is not inferior to the 
Father and the Son. 

1 7 . A bove, you read that "the Lord blessed him, and the Spirit of the Lord 
began to go with him." Farther on it is said: "And the Spirit of the Lord 
came upon him." Again he says: "If I be shaven, my strength will depart 
from me." After he was shaven, see what the Scripture says: "The Lord," 
he says, "departed from him." 

18. You see, then, that He Who went with him, Himself departed from 
him. The Same is, then, the Lord, Who is the Spirit of the Lord, that is, he 
called the Spirit of God, Lord, as also the Apostle says: "The Lord is the 
Spirit, now where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." You find, 
then, the Holy Spirit called the Lord; for the Holy Spirit and the Son are 
not one Person [unus] but one Substance [unum]. 

19. In this place he used the word Power, and implied the Spirit. For as the 
Father is Power, so, too, the Son is Power, and the Holy Spirit is Power. 
Of the Son you have read that Christ is "the Power of God and the 
Wisdom of God." We read, too, that the Father is Power, as it is written: 
"Ye shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power of 
God." E He certainly named the Father Power, at Whose right hand the 
Son sits, as you read: "The Lord said unto My Lord, Sit Thou on My 
right hand." And the Lord Himself named the Holy Spirit Power, when 
He said: "Ye shall receive Power when the Holy Spirit cometh upon you." 



317 
CHAPTER 2 

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are One in counsel. 

2 . F or the Spirit Himself is Power, as you read: "The Spirit of Counsel 
and of Power (or might)." s And as the Son is the Angel of great counsel, 
so, too, is the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Counsel, that you may know that 
the Counsel of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is One. Counsel, 
not concerning any doubtful matters, but concerning those foreknown and 
determined. 

21. But that the Spirit is the Arbiter of the Divine Counsel, you may know 
even from this. For when above we showed that the Holy Spirit was the 
Lord of baptism, and read that baptism is the counsel of God, as you read, 
"But the Pharisees despised the counsel of God, not being baptized of 
Him," it is quite clear that as there can be no baptism without the Spirit, 
so, too, the counsel of God is not without the Spirit. 

22. And that we may know more completely that the Spirit is Power, we 
ought to know that He was promised when the Lord said: "I will pour out 
of ivy Spirit upon all flesh." He, then, Who was promised to us is Himself 
Power, as in the Gospel the same Son of God declared when He said: 
"And I will send the promise of the Father upon you, but do you remain 
in the city until ye be endued with power from on high." 

23. And the Evangelist so far shows that the Spirit is Power, that St. Luke 
relates that He came down with great power, when he says: "And 
suddenly there was a sound from heaven, as though the Spirit were borne 
with great power." 

24. But, again, that you may not suppose that this is to be referred to 
bodily things and perceptible to the senses, learn that the Spirit so 
descended as Christ is to descend, as you find: "They shall see the Son of 
Man coming in the clouds with great power and majesty." 

25. For how should not the power and might be one, when the work, is 
one, the judgment one, the temple one, the life-giving one, the 



318 

sanctification one, and the kingdom also of the Father, Son, and Holy 
Spirit one? 



319 
CHAPTER 3 



As to know the Father and the Son is life, so is it life to know the 
Holy Spirit; and therefore in the Godhead He is not to be separated 
from the Father. 

26. Let them say, then, wherein they think that there is an unlikeness in 
the divine operation. Since as to know the Father and the Son is life, as the 
Lord Himself declared, saying: "This is life eternal to know Thee the only 
true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent," so, too, to know the 
Holy Spirit is life. For the Lord said: "If ye love Me, keep My 
commandments, and I will ask the Father and He shall give you another 
Paraclete, that He may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of Truth, 
Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth 
Him, but ye know Him, for He is with you, and in you." 

27. So, then, the world had not eternal life, because it had not received the 
Spirit; for where the Spirit is, there is eternal life; for the Spirit Himself it 
is Who effects eternal life. Wherefore I wonder why the Arians stir the 
question as to the only true God. For as it is eternal life to know the only 
true God, so, too, is it eternal life to know Jesus Christ; so, again, it is 
eternal life to know the Holy Spirit, Whom, as also the Father, the world 
does not see, and, as also the Son, does not know. But he who is not of 
this world has eternal life, and the Spirit, Who is the Light of eternal life, 
remains with him for ever. 

28. If the knowledge of the only true God confers the same benefit as the 
knowledge of the Son and of the Spirit, why do you sever the Son and the 
Spirit from the honor of the true God, when you do not sever Him from 
conferring the benefit? For of necessity you must either believe that this is 
the greatest gift of the only true Godhead, and will confess the only true 
Godhead as of the Father, so also of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; or if 
you say that he, too, can give life eternal who is not true God, it will 
happen that you derogate rather from the Father, Whose work you do not 
consider to be the chief work of the only true Godhead, but one to be 
compared to the work of a creature. 



320 
CHAPTER 4 



The Holy Spirit gives life, not in a different way from the Father and 
the Son, nor by a different working. 

29. And what wonder is it the Spirit works Life, Who quickens as does the 
Father and as does the Son? And who can deny that quickening is the work 
of the Eternal Majesty? For it is written: "Quicken Thy servant." He, 
then, is quickened who is a servant, that is, man, who before had not life, 
but received the privilege of having it. 

30. Let us then see whether the Spirit is quickened, or Himself quickens. 
Now it is written: "The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life." So, then, 
the Spirit quickens. 

31. But that you may understand that the quickening of the Father, Son, 
and Holy Spirit is no separate work, read how there is a oneness of 
quickening also, since God Himself quickens through the Spirit, for Paul 
said: "He Who raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your 
mortal bodies because of His Spirit Who dwelleth in you." 



321 
CHAPTER 5 



The Holy Spirit, as well as the Father and the Son, is pointed out in 
holy Scripture as Creator, and the same truth was shadowed forth 
even by heathen writers, but it was shown most plainly in the 
Mystery of the Incarnation, after touching upon which, the writer 
maintains his argument from the fact that worship which is due to 
the Creator alone is paid to the Holy Spirit. 

32. B ut who can doubt that the Holy Spirit gives life to all things; since 
both He, as the Father and the Son, is the Creator of all things; and the 
Almighty Father is understood to have done nothing without the Holy 
Spirit; and since also in the beginning of the creation the Spirit moved upon 
the water. 

33. So when the Spirit was moving upon the water, the creation was 
without grace; but after this world being created underwent the operation 
of the Spirit, it gained all the beauty of that grace, wherewith the world is 
illuminated. And that the grace of the universe cannot abide without the 
Holy Spirit the prophet declared when he said "Thou wilt take away Thy 
Spirit, and they will fail and be turned again into their dust. Send forth Thy 
Spirit, and they shall be made, and Thou wilt renew all the face of the 
earth." Not only, then, did he teach that no creature can stand without the 
Holy Spirit, but also that the Spirit is the Creator of the whole creation. 

34. And who can deny that the creation of the earth is the work of the 
Holy Spirit, Whose work it is that it is renewed? For if they desire to deny 
that it was created by the Spirit, since they cannot deny that it must be 
renewed by the Spirit, they who desire to sever the Persons must maintain 
that the operation of the Holy Spirit is superior to that of the Father and 
the Son, which is far from the truth; for there is no doubt that the restored 
earth is better than it was created. Or if at first, without the operation of 
the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son made the earth, but the operation 
of the Holy Spirit was joined on afterwards, it will seem that that which 
was made required His aid, which was then added. But far be it from any 



322 

one to think this, namely, that the divine work should be believed to have a 
change in the Creator, an error brought in by Manicheus. 

35. But do we suppose that the substance of the earth exists without the 
operation of the Holy Spirit, without Whose work not even the expanse of 
the sky endures? For it is written: "By the Word of the Lord were the 
heavens established, and all the strength of them by the Spirit of His 
Mouth." Observe what he says, that all the strength of the heavens is to be 
referred to the Spirit. For how should He Who was moving before the 
earth was made, be resting when it was being made? 

36. Gentile writers, following ours as it were through shadows, because 
they could not imbibe the truth of the Spirit, have pointed out in their 
verses that the Spirit within nourishes heaven and earth, and the glittering 
orbs of moon and stars. So they deny not that the strength of creatures 
exists through the Spirit, are we who read this to deny it? But you think 
that they refer to a Spirit produced of the air. If they declared a Spirit of 
the air to be the Author of all things, do we doubt that the Spirit of God is 
the Creator of all things? 

37. But why do I delay with matters not to the purpose? Let them accept 
a plain proof that there can be nothing which the Holy Spirit can be said 
not to have made; and that it cannot be doubted that all subsists through 
His operation, whether Angels, Archangels, Thrones, or Dominions; since 
the Lord Himself, Whom the Angels serve, was begotten by the Holy 
Spirit coming upon the Virgin, as, according to Matthew, the Angel said to 
Joseph: "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take Mary thy wife, for 
that which shall be born of her is of the Holy Spirit." And according to 
Luke, he said to Mary: "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee." 

38. The birth from the Virgin was, then, the work of the Spirit. The fruit of 
the womb is the work of the Spirit, according to that which is written: 
"Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb." 
The flower from the root is the work of the Spirit, that flower, I say, of 
which it was well prophesied: "A rod shall go forth from the root of Jesse, 
and a flower shall rise from his root." The root of Jesse the patriarch is the 
family of the Jews, Mary is the rod, Christ the flower of Mary, Who, 
about to spread the good odor of faith throughout the whole world, budded 



323 

forth from a virgin womb, as He Himself said: "I am the flower of the 
plain, a lily of the valley." 

39. The flower, when cut, keeps its odor, and when bruised increases it, 
nor if torn off does it lose it; so, too, the Lord Jesus, on the gibbet of the 
cross, neither failed when bruised, nor fainted when torn; and when He 
was cut by that piercing of the spear, being made more beautiful by the 
cob our of the outpoured Blood, He, as it were, grew comely again, not 
able in Himself to die, and breathing forth upon the dead the gift of eternal 
life. On this flower, then, of the royal rod the Holy Spirit rested. 

40. A good rod, as some think, is the Flesh of the Lord, which, raising 
itself from its earthly root to heaven, bore around the whole world the 
sweet- smelling fruits of religion, the mysteries of the divine generation, 
pouring grace on the altars of heaven. 

41. So, then, we cannot doubt that the Spirit is Creator, Whom we know 
as the Author of the Lord's Incarnation. For who can doubt when you find 
in the commencement of the Gospel that the generation of Jesus Christ 
was on this wise: "When Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came 
together she was found with child of [ex] the Holy Spirit." 

42. For although most authorities read "de Spiritu," yet the Greek from 
which the Latins translated have "e% 7tveijp,aTO<; ayicD," that is, "ex 
Spiritu Sancto." For that which is" of [ex] any one is either of his 
substance or of his power. Of his substance, as the Son, Who says: "I 
came forth of the Mouth of the Most High;" as the Spirit, "Who 
proceedeth from the Father;" of Whom the Son says: "He shall glorify Me, 
for He shall receive of Mine." But of the power, as in the passage: "One 
God the Father, of Whom are all things." 

43. How, then, was Mary with child of the Holy Spirit? If as of her 
substance, was the Spirit, then, changed into flesh and bones? Certainly 
not. But if the Virgin conceived as of His operation and power, who can 
deny that the Holy Spirit is Creator? 

44. How is it, too, that Job plainly set forth the Spirit as his Creator, 
saying: "The Spirit of God hath made me"? In one short verse he showed 
Him to be both Divine and Creator. If, then, the Spirit is Creator, He is 



324 

certainly not a creature, for the Apostle has separated the Creator and the 
creature, saying: "They served the creature rather than the Creator." 

45. He teaches that the Creator is to be served by condemning those who 
serve the creature, whereas we owe our service to the Creator. And since 
he knew the Spirit to be the Creator, he teaches that we ought to serve 
Him, saying: "Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of 
the concision, for we are the circumcision who serve the Spirit of God." 

46. But if any one disputes because of the variations of the Latin codices, 
some of which heretics have falsified, let him look at the Greek codices, 
and observe that it is there written: "oi Ttveujiocxi Gecu Xaxpe-uovTef;," 
which is, being translated, "who serve the Spirit of God." 

47. So, then, when the same Apostle says that we ought to serve the 
Spirit, who asserts that we must not serve the creature, but the Creator; 
without doubt he plainly shows that the Holy Spirit is Creator, and is to 
be venerated with the honor due to the eternal Godhead; for it is written: 
"Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve." 



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To those who object that according to the words of Amos the Spirit is 
created, the answer is made that the word is there understood of the 
wind, which is often created, which cannot be said of the Holy Spirit, 
since He is eternal, and cannot be dissolved in death, or by an 
heretical absorption into the Father. But if they pertinaciously 
contend that this passage was written of the Holy Spirit, St. Ambrose 
points out that recourse must be had to a spiritual Interpretation, for 
Christ by His coming established the thunder, that is, the force of 
the divine utterances, and by Spirit is signified the human soul as 
also the flesh assumed by Christ. And since this was created by each 
Person of the Trinity, it is thence argued that the Spirit, Who has 
before been affirmed to be the Creator of all things, was the Author 
of the Incarnation of the Lord. 

48. N or does it escape my notice that heretics have been wont to object 
that the Holy Spirit appears to be a creature, because many of them use as 
an argument for establishing their impiety that passage of Amos, where he 
spoke of the blowing of the wind, as the words of the prophet made clear. 
For you read thus: "Behold, I am He that establish the thunders, and create 
the wind [spirit], and declare unto man his Christ, that make light and mist, 
and ascend upon high places, the Lord God Almighty is His Name." 

49. If they make an argument of this, hat he said "spirit" was created, 
Esdras aught us that spirit is created, saying in the fourth book: "And 
upon the second day Thou madest the spirit of the firmament," yet, that 
we may keep to our point, is it not evident that in what Amos said the 
order of he passage shows that the prophet was speaking of the creation of 
this world? 

50. He begins as follows: "I am the Lord that establish the thunders and 
create he wind [spirit]." The order of the words itself teaches us; for if he 
had wished to speak of the Holy Spirit, he would certainly not have put 
the thunders in the first place. For thunder is not more ancient than the 
Holy Spirit; though they be ungodly, they still dare not say that. And then 



326 

when we, see what follows concerning light and mist, is it not plain that 
what is said is to be understood of the creation of this world? For we 
know by every-day experience, that when we have storms on this earth, 
thunders come first, blasts of wind follow on, the sky grows black with 
mists, and light shines again out of the darkness. For the blasts of wind are 
also called "spirits," as it is written: "Fire and brimstone and the spirit of 
storm." 

51. And that you might know that he called this "spirit," he says: 
"establishing thunders and creating the wind [spirit]." For these are often 
created, when they take place. But the Holy Spirit is eternal, and if any 
one dares to call Him a creature, still he cannot say that He is daily created 
like the blast of the wind. Then, again, Wisdom herself, speaking after the 
mystery of the assumed Body, says: "The Lord created Me." Although 
prophesying of things to come, yet, because the coming of the Lord was 
predestined, it is not said "creates" but "created Me;" that men might 
believe that the Body of Jesus was begotten of the Virgin Mary, not often, 
but once only. 

52. And so, as to that which the prophet declared as it were of the daily 
working of God in the thunder and the creation of the wind, it would be 
impious to understand any such thing of the Holy Spirit, Whom the 
ungodly themselves cannot deny to exist from before the world. Whence 
with pious asseveration we testify that He always exists, and abides ever. 
For neither can He Who before the world was moving upon the waters 
begin to be visible after the world's creation; or else it would be allowable 
to suppose that there are many Holy Spirits, Who come into being by as it 
were a daily production. Far be it from any one to pollute himself with 
such impiety as to say that the Holy Spirit is frequently or ever created. 
For I do not understand why He should be frequently created; unless 
perchance they believe that He dies frequently and so is frequently 
created. But how can the Spirit of life die? If, then, He cannot die, there is 
no reason why He should be often created. 

53. But they who think otherwise fall into this sacrilege, that they do not 
distinguish the Holy Spirit; who think that the Word Which was sent forth 
returns to the Father, and the Spirit Which was sent forth is reabsorbed 
into God, so that there should be a reabsorption and a kind of alternation 



327 

of one changing himself into various forms; whereas the distinction 
between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit always abiding and unchangeable, 
preserves the Unity of its power. 

54. But if any one thinks that the word of the prophet is to be explained 
with reference to the Holy Spirit, because it is said, "declaring unto men 
His Christ," he will explain it more easily of the Lord's Incarnation. For if 
it troubles you that he said Spirit, and therefore you think that this cannot 
well be explained of the mystery of the taking of human nature, read on in 
the Scriptures and you will find that all agrees most excellently with 
Christ, of Whom it is thoroughly fitting to think that He established the 
thunders by His coming, that is, the force and sound of the heavenly 
Scriptures, by the thunder, as it were, of which our minds are struck with 
astonishment, so that we learn to be afraid, and pay respect to the 
heavenly oracles. 

55. Lastly, in the Gospel the brothers of the Lord were called Sons of 
Thunder; and when the voice was uttered of the Father, saying, "I have 
both glorified it and will glorify it again," the Jews said that it thundered on 
Him. For although they could not receive the grace of the truth, yet they 
confessed unwillingly, and in their ignorance were speaking mysteries, so 
that there resulted a great testimony of the Father to the Son. And in the 
Book of Job, too, the Scripture says: "And who knows when He will 
make the power of His thunder?" Certainly if these words pertained to the 
thunders of the heavens, he would have said that their force was already 
made, not about to be made. 

56. Therefore he referred the thunders to the words of the Lord, the sound 
of which went out into all the earth, and we understand the word "spirit" 
in this place of the soul, which He took endowed with reason and perfect; 
for Scripture often designates the soul of man by the word spirit, as you 
read: "Who creates the spirit of man within him." So, too, the Lord 
signified His Soul by the word Spirit, when He said: "Into Thy hands I 
commend My Spirit." 

57. And that you might know that he spoke of the coming down of Jesus, 
he added that He declared His Christ to men for in His baptism He 
declared Him, saying: "Thou art My beloved Son, in Whom I am well 



328 

pleased." He declared Him on the mount, saying: "This is My beloved 
Son, hear ye Him." He declared Him in His Passion, when the sun hid 
itself, and sea and earth trembled. He declared Him in the Centurion, who 
said: "Truly this was the Son of God." 

58. We ought, then, to take this whole passage either to be simply to be 
understood of that state in which we here live and breathe, or of the 
mystery of the Lord's Body; for if here it had been stated that the Holy 
Spirit was created, undoubtedly Scripture would elsewhere have declared 
the same, as we often read of the Son of God, Who according to the flesh 
was both made and created. 

59. But it is fitting that we should consider His Majesty in the very fact of 
His taking flesh for us, that we may see His divine power in the very 
taking of the Body. For as we read that the Father created the mystery of 
the Lord's Incarnation, the Spirit too created it; and so too we read that 
Christ Himself created His own Body. For the Father created it, as it is 
written: "The Lord created Me," and in another place, "God sent His Son, 
made of a woman, made under the law." And the Spirit created the whole 
mystery, according to that which we read, for "Mary was found with child 
of the Holy Spirit." 

60. You find, then, that the Father created and the Spirit created; learn, too, 
that the Son of God also created, when Solomon says: "Wisdom hath made 
herself a house." How, then, can the Holy Spirit Who created the mystery 
of the Lord's Incarnation, which is above all created things, be Himself a 
creature? 

61. As we have shown above generally that the Holy Spirit is our Creator 
according to the flesh in the outer man, let us now show that He is our 
Creator also according to the mystery of grace. And as the Father creates, 
so too does the Son create, and so too the Holy Spirit creates, as we read 
in the words of Paul: "For it is the gift of God, not of works, test any one 
should boast. For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus in good 
works." 



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CHAPTER 7 



The Holy Spirit is no less the author of spiritual creation or 
regeneration than the Father and the Son. The excellence of that 
creation, and wherein it consists. How we are to understand holy 
Scripture, when it attributes a body or members to God. 

62. So, then, the Father creates in good works, and the Son also, for it is 
written: "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become 
the sons of God, even to them who believe on His Name; who were born 
not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of 
God." 

63. In like manner the Lord Himself also testifies that we are born again of 
the Spirit according to grace, saying: "That which is born of the flesh is 
flesh, because it is born of flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is 
spirit, because God is Spirit. Marvel not that I said unto you, Ye must be 
born again. The Spirit breatheth where He willeth, and thou hearest His 
voice, but knowest not whence He cometh or whither He goeth, so is 
every one who is born of the Spirit." 

64. It is then clear that the Holy Spirit is also the Author of the grace of 
the Spirit, since we are created according to God, that we may be made the 
sons of God. So when He has taken us into His kingdom by the adoption 
of holy regeneration, do we deny Him that which is His? He has made us 
heirs of the new birth from above, do we claim the heritage and reject its 
Author? But the benefit cannot remain when its Author is shut out; the 
Author is not without the gift, nor the gift without the Author. If you 
claim the grace, believe the power; if you reject the power, do not ask for 
the grace. He who has denied the Spirit has at the same time denied the 
gift. For if the Author be of no account how can His gifts be precious? 
Why do we grudge the gifts we ourselves receive, diminish our hopes, 
repudiate our dignity, and deny our Comforter? 

65. But we cannot deny Him. Far be it from us to deny that which is so 
great, since the Apostle says: "But ye brethren, like Isaac, are the children 
of promise, but as then, he that is born after the flesh persecutes him that 



330 

is after the Spirit." Again certainly is understood from what has gone 
before, is born after the Spirit. He then who is born after the Spirit is born 
after God. Now we are born again when we are renewed in our inward 
affections and lay aside the oldness or the outer man. And so the Apostle 
says again: "But be ye renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the 
new man which is created according to God in truth and righteousness and 
holiness." Let them hear how the Scripture has signified the unity of the 
divine operation. He who is renewed in the spirit of his mind has put on 
the new man, which is created according to God. 

66. That more excellent regeneration is then the work of the Holy Spirit; 
and the Spirit is the Author of that new man which is created after the 
image of God, which no one will doubt to be better than this outer man of 
ours. Since the Apostle has pointed out that the one is heavenly, the other 
earthly, when he says: "As is the heavenly, such also are the heavenly." 

67. Since, then, the grace of the Spirit makes that to be heavenly which it 
can create earthy, we ought to observe by reason though we be without 
instances. For in a certain place holy Job says: "As the Lord liveth, Who 
thus judgeth me, and the Almighty, Who hath brought my soul to 
bitterness (for the Spirit of God which is in my nostrils)." He certainly did 
not here signify by His Spirit the vital breath and bodily breathing 
passages, but signifies the nostrils of the inner man within him, wherewith 
he gathered in the fragrance of eternal life, and drew in the grace of the 
heavenly ointment as with a kind of twofold sense. 

68. For there are spiritual nostrils, as we read, which the spouse of the 
Word has, to whom it is said: "And the smell of thy nostrils;" and in 
another place: "The Lord smelled a smell of sweetness." There are, then, as 
it were, inward members of a man, whose hands are considered to be in 
action, his ears in hearing, his feet in a kind of progress in a good work. 
And so from what is done we gather as it were figures of the members, for 
it is not suitable for us to imagine anything in the inner man after a fleshly 
manner. 

69. And there are some who suppose that God is fashioned after a bodily 
manner, when they read of His hand or finger, and they do not observe 
that these things are written not because of any fashion of a body, since in 



331 

the Godhead are neither members nor parts, but are expressions of the 
oneness of the Godhead, that we may believe that it is impossible for 
either the Son or the Holy Spirit to be separated from God the Father; 
since the fullness of the Godhead dwells as it were bodily in the substance 
of the Trinity. For this reason, then, is the Son also called the Right Hand 
of the Father, as we read: "The Right Hand of the Lord hath done mighty 
things, the Right Hand of the Lord hath exalted me." 



332 
CHAPTER 8 



St. Ambrose examines and refutes the heretical argument that 
because God is said to be glorified in the Spirit, and not with the 
Spirit, the Holy Spirit is therefore inferior to the Father. He shows 
that the particle in can be also used of the Son and even of the 
Father, and that on the other hand with may be said of creatures 
without any infringement on the prerogatives of the Godhead; and 
that in reality these prepositions simply imply the connection of the 
Three Divine Persons. 

70. B ut what wonder is it if foolish men question about words, when they 
do so even about syllables? For some think that a distinction should be 
made and that God should be praised in the Spirit, but not with the Spirit, 
and consider that the greatness of the Godhead is to be estimated from one 
syllable or some custom, arguing that if they consider that God should be 
glorified in the Spirit, they point to some office of the Holy Spirit, but that 
if they say that God receives glory or power with the Spirit, they seem to 
imply some association and communion of the Father, the Son, and the 
Holy Spirit. 

7 1 . But who can separate what is incapable of separation? who can divide 
that association which Christ shows to be inseparable? "Go," says He, 
"baptize all nations in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the 
Holy Spirit." Has He changed either a word or a syllable here concerning 
the Father or the Son or the Holy Spirit? Certainly not. But He says, in 
the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The 
expression is the same for the Spirit as for the Father and for Himself. 
From which is inferred not any office of the Holy Spirit, but rather a 
sharing of honor or of working when we say "in the Spirit." 

72. Consider, too, that this opinion of yours tends to the injury of the 
Father and the Son, for the latter did not say, "with the Name of the 
Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," but in the Name, and yet 
not any office but the power of the Trinity is expressed in this syllable, 



333 

73. Lastly, that you may know that it is not a syllable which prejudices 
faith, but faith which commends a syllable, Paul also speaks in Christ. 
Christ is not less, because Paul spoke in Christ, as you find: "We speak 
before God in Christ." As, then, the Apostle says that we speak in Christ, 
so, too, is that which we speak in the Spirit; as the Apostle himself said: 
"No man saith Lord Jesus, except in the Holy Spirit." So, then, in this 
place not any subjection of the Holy Spirit, but a connection of grace is 
signified. 

74. And that you may know that distinction does not depend upon a 
syllable, he says also in another place: "And these indeed were you, but ye 
are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the Name of the 
Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God." How many instances of 
this I can bring forward. For it is written: "Ye are all one in Christ Jesus," 
and elsewhere: "To those sanctified in Christ Jesus," and again: "That we 
might be the righteousness of God in Him," and in another place: "Should 
fall from the chastity which is in Christ Jesus." 

75. But what am I doing? For while I say that like things are written of the 
Son as of the Spirit, I am rather leading on to this, not that because it is 
written of the Son, therefore it would appear to be reverently written of 
the Holy Spirit, but that because the same is written of the Spirit, 
therefore men allege that the Son's honor is lessened because of the Spirit. 
For say they, Is it written of God the Father? 

76. But let them learn that it is also said of God the Father: "In the Lord I 
will praise the word;" and elsewhere: "In God we will do mighty deeds;" 
and "My remembrance shall be ever in Thee;" and "In Thy Name will we 
rejoice;" and again in another place: "That his deeds may be manifested, 
that they are wrought in God;" and Paul:" In God Who created all things;" 
and again: "Paul and Silvanus and Timotheus to the Church of the 
Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ;" and in the 
Gospel: "I in the Father and the Father in Me," and "the Father that 
dwelleth in Me." It is also written: "He that glorieth let him glory in the 
Lord;" and in another place: "Our life is hid with Christ in God." Did he 
here ascribe more to the Son than to the Father in saying that we are with 
Christ in God? or does our state avail more than the grace of the Spirit, so 
that we can be with Christ and the Holy Spirit cannot? And when Christ 



334 

wills to be with us, as He Himself said: "Father, I will that they whom 
Thou hast given Me be with Me where I am," would He disdain to be with 
the Spirit? For it is written: "Ye coming together and my spirit with the 
power of the Lord Jesus." Do we then come together in the power of the 
Lord, and dare to say that the Lord Jesus would not be willing to come 
together with the Spirit Who does not disdain to come together with us? 

77. So the Apostle thinks that it makes no difference which particle you 
use. For each is a conjunctive particle, and conjunction does not cause 
separation, for if it divided it would not be called a conjunction. 

78. What, then, moves yon to say that to God the Father or to His Christ 
there is glory, life, greatness, or power, in the Holy Spirit, and to refuse to 
say with the Holy Spirit? Is it that you are afraid of seeming to join the 
Spirit with the Father and the Son? But hear what is written of the Spirit: 
"For the law of the Spirit is life in Christ Jesus." And in another place God 
the Father says: "They shall worship Thee, and in Thee they shall make 
supplication." God the Father says that we ought to pray in Christ; and do 
you think that it is any derogation to the Spirit if the glory of Christ is said 
to be in Him? 

79. Hear that what you are afraid to acknowledge of the Spirit, the Apostle 
did not fear to claim for himself; for he says: "To be dissolved and to be 
with Christ is much better." Do you deny that the Spirit, through Whom 
the Apostle was made worthy of being with Christ, is with Christ? 

80. What, then, is the reason that you prefer saying that God or Christ is 
glorified in the Spirit rather than with the Spirit? Is it because if you say in 
the Spirit, the Spirit is declared to be less than Christ? Although your 
making the Lord greater or less is a matter which can be refuted, yet since 
we read, "For Christ was made sin for us, that we might be the 
righteousness of God in Him," He is found chiefest in Whom we are found 
most low. So, too, elsewhere you read, "For in Him all things consist," 
that is, in His power. And the things which consist in Him cannot be 
compared to Him, because they receive from His power the substance 
whereby they consist. 

81. Do you then understand that God so reigns in the Spirit that the power 
of the Spirit, as a kind of source of substance, imparts to God the origin of 



335 

His rule? But this is impious. And so our predecessors spoke of the unity 
of power of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, when they said that 
the glory of Christ was with the Spirit, that they might declare their 
inseparable connection. 

82. For how is the Holy Spirit separated from the Son, since "the Spirit 
Himself beareth witness with our spirit that we are sons of God, and if 
sons, also heirs, heirs, indeed, of God and joint-heirs with Christ." Who, 
then, is so foolish as to wish to dissever the eternal conjunction of the 
Spirit and Christ, when the Spirit by Whom we are made joint- heirs with 
Christ conjoins even what is severed. 

83. "If so be," he says, "we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified 
together." If we then shall be glorified together with Christ through the 
Spirit, how do we refuse to admit that the Spirit Himself is glorified 
together with Christ? Do we dissociate the life of Christ and of the Holy 
Spirit when the Spirit says that we shall live together with the Son of 
God? For the Apostle says: "If we be dead with Christ we believe that we 
shall also live with Him;" and then again: "For if we suffer with Him we 
shall also live with Him, and not only shall we live with Him, but shall be 
also glorified with Him, and not only be glorified but shall also reign with 
Him." 

84. No division, then, is implied in those particles, for each is a particle of 
conjunction. And lastly, we often find in holy Scripture the one inserted 
and the other understood, as it is written: "I will enter into Thy house in 
whole burnt-offerings," that is, "with whole burnt-offerings;" and in 
another place: "He brought them forth in silver and gold," that is, "with 
silver and gold." And elsewhere the Psalmist says: "Wilt Thou not go forth 
with us in our hosts?" for that which is really meant, "with our hosts." So, 
then, in the use of the expression no lessening of honor can be implied, and 
nothing ought to be deduced derogatory to the honor of the Godhead, it is 
necessary that with the heart man should believe unto righteousness, and 
that out of the faith of the heart confession should be made in the mouth 
unto salvation. But they who believe not with the heart spread what is 
derogatory with their mouth. 



336 
CHAPTER 9 



A passage of St. Paul abused by heretics, to prove a distinction 
between the Divine Persons, is explained, and it is proved that the 
whole passage can be rightly said of each Person, though it refers 
specially to the Son. It is then proved that each member of the 
passage is applicable to each Person, and as to say, Him are all 
things is applicable to the Father, so may all things are through Him 
and in Him also be said of Him. 

85 . A nother similar passage is that which they say implies difference, 
where it is written: "But to us there is one Father, of Whom are all things 
and we unto Him, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom are all things, 
and we through Him." For they pretend that when it is said "of Him," the 
matter is signified, when "through Him, either the instrument of the work 
or some office, but when it is said "in Him," either the place or the time in 
which all things that are made are seen. 

86. So, then, their desire is to prove that there is some difference of 
substance, being anxious to make a distinction between as it were the 
instrument, and the proper worker or author, and also between time or 
place and the instrument. But is the Son, then, alien as regards His Nature 
from the Father, because an instrument is alien from the worker or author? 
or is the Son alien from the Spirit, because either time or place is not of the 
same class as an instrument? 

87. Compare now our assertions. They will have it that matter is of God 
as though of the nature of God, as when you say that a chest is made of 
wood or a statue of stone; that after this fashion matter has come forth 
from God, and that the same matter has been made by the Son as if by 
some sort of instrument; so that they declare that the Son is not so much 
the Artificer as the instrument of the work; and that all things have been 
made in the Spirit, as if in some place or time; they attribute each part 
severally to each Person severally and deny that all are in common. 

88. But we show that all things are so of God the Father, that God the 
Father has suffered no loss because all things are either through Him or in 



337 

Him, and yet all things are not of Him as if of matter; then, too, that all 
things are through the Lord the Son, so that He is not deprived of the 
attribute that all things are of the Son and in Him; and that all things are in 
the Spirit, so that we may teach that all things are through the Spirit, and 
all things from the Spirit. 

89. For these particles, like those of which we have spoken before, imply 
each other. For the Apostle did not so say, All things are of God, and all 
things are through the Son, as to signify that the substance of — the Father 
and the Son could be severed, but that he might teach that by a distinction 
without confusion the Father is one, the Son another. Those particles, 
then, are not as it were in opposition to each other, but are as it were allied 
and agreed, so as often to suit even one Person, as it is written: "For of 
Him, and through Him, and in Him are all things." 

90. But if you really consider whence the passage is taken you will have 
no doubt that it is said of the Son. For the Apostle says, according to the 
prophecy of Isaiah, "Who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath 
been His counselor?" And he adds: "For of Him and in Him are all things." 
Which Isaiah had said of the Artificer of all, as you read: "Who hath 
measured out the water with his hand, and the heaven with a span, and all 
the earth with his closed hand? Who hath placed the mountains in scales 
and the hills in a balance? Who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who 
hath been His counselor?" 

91. And the Apostle added: "For of Him, and through Him, and in Him are 
all things." What is "of Him"? That the nature of everything is of His will, 
and He is the Author of all things which have come into being. "Through 
Him" means what? That the establishment and continuance of all things is 
His girl. What is "in Him"? That all things by a wonderful kind of longing 
and unspeakable love look upon the Author of their life, and the Giver of 
their graces and functions, according to that which is written: "The eyes of 
all look unto Thee," and "Thou openest Thine hand and fillest every living 
creature with Thy good pleasure." 

92. And of the Father, too, you may rightly say "of Him," for of Him was 
the operative Wisdom, Which of His own and the Father's will gave being 
to all things which were not. "Through Him," because all things were made 



338 

through His Wisdom. "In Him," because He is the Fount of substantial 
Life, in Whom we live and move and have our being. 

93. Of the Spirit also, as being formed by Him, strengthened by Him, 
established in Him, we receive the gift of eternal life. 

94. Since, then, these expressions seem suitable either to the Father or the 
Son or the Holy Spirit, it is certain that nothing derogatory is spoken of in 
them, since we both say that many things are of the Son, and many 
through the Father, as you find it said of the Son: "That we may be 
increased through all things in Him, Who is Christ the Head, from Whom," 
says he, "the whole body, flamed and knit together through every joint of 
the supply for the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body 
unto the building up of itself in love." And again, writing to the Colossians 
of those who have not the knowledge of the Son of God, he says: 
"Because they hold not the Head, from Whom all the body being supplied 
and joined together through joints and bands, increaseth to the increase of 
God." For we said above that Christ is the Head of the Church. And in 
another place you read: "Of His fullness have all we received." And the 
Lord Himself said: "He shall take of Mine and show it unto you." And 
before, He said: "I perceive that virtue is gone out of Me." 

95. In like manner that you may recognize the Unity, it is also said of the 
Spirit: "For he that soweth in the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap eternal 
life." And John says: "Hereby we know that He is in us because He hath 
given us of His Spirit." And the Angel says: "That Which shall be born of 
her is of the Holy Spirit." And the Lord says: "That which is born of the 
Spirit is Spirit." 

96. So, then, as we read that all things are of the Father, so, too, that all 
things can be said to be of the Son, through Whom are all things; and we 
are taught by proof that all things are of the Spirit in Whom are all things. 

97. Now let us consider whether we can teach that anything is through the 
Father. But it is written: "Paul the servant of Christ through the will of 
God;" and elsewhere: "Wherefore thou art now not a servant but a son, 
and if a son an heir also through God;" and again: "As Christ rose from the 
dead by the glory of God." And elsewhere God the Father says to the Son: 
"Behold proselytes shall come to Thee through Me." 



339 

98. You will find many other passages, if you look for things done through 
the Father. Is, then, the Father less because we read that many things are in 
the Son and of the Son, and find in the heavenly Scriptures very many 
things done or given through the Father? 

99. But in like manner we also read of many things done through the Spirit, 
as you find: "But God hath revealed them to us through His Spirit;" and in 
another place: "Keep the good deposit through the Holy Spirit;" and to the 
Ephesians: "to be strengthened through His Spirit;" and to the Corinthians: 
"To another is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom;" and in 
another place: "But if through the Spirit ye mortify the deeds of the flesh, 
ye shall live;" and above: "He Who raised Christ from the dead shall also 
quicken your mortal bodies through the indwelling of His Spirit in you." 

100. But perhaps some one may say, Show me that we can read expressly 
that all things are of the Son, or that all things are of the Spirit. But I reply, 
Let them also show that it is written that all things are through the Father. 
But since we have proved that these expressions suit either the Esther or 
the Son or the Holy Spirit, and that no distinction of the divine power can 
arise from particles of this kind, there is no doubt but that all things are of 
Him through Whom all things are; and that all things are through Him 
through Whom all are; and that we must understand that all things are 
through Him or of Him in Whom all are. For every creature exists both of 
the will, and through the operation and in the power of the Trinity, as it is 
written: "Let Us make man after Our image and likeness;" and elsewhere: 
"By the word of the Lord were the heavens established, and all their 
power by the Spirit of His mouth." 



340 
CHAPTER 10 



Being about to prove that the will, the calling, and the 
commandment of the Trinity is one, St. Ambrose shows that the 
Spirit called the Church exactly as the Father and the Son did, and 
proves this by the selection of SS. Paul and Barnabas, and especially 
by the mission of St. Peter to Cornelius. And by the way he points 
out how in the Apostle's vision the calling of the Gentiles was 
shadowed forth, who having been before like wild beasts, now by the 
operation of the Spirit lay aside that wildness. Then having quoted 
other passages in support of this view, he shows that in the case of 
Jeremiah cast into a pit by Jews, and rescued by Abdemelech, is a 
type of the slighting of the Holy Spirit by the Jews, and of His being 
honored by the Gentiles. 

1 1 . A nd not only is the operation of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit 
everywhere one but also there is one and the same will, calling, and giving 
of commands, which one may see in the great and saving mystery of the 
Church. For as the Father called the Gentiles to the Church, saying: "I will 
call her My people which was not My people, and her beloved who was 
not beloved;" and elsewhere: "My house shall be called a house of prayer 
for all nations," so, too, the Lord Jesus said that Paul was chosen by Him 
to call forth and gather together the Church, as you find it said by the Lord 
Jesus to Ananias: "Go, for he is a chosen vessel unto Me to bear My name 
before all nations." 

102. As, then, God the Father called the Church, so, too, Christ called it, 
and so, too, the Spirit called it, saying: "Separate Me Paul and Barnabas 
for the work to which I have called them." "So," it is added, "having fasted 
and prayed, they laid hands on them and sent them forth. And they, being 
sent forth by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia." So Paul received the 
apostleship by the will not only of Christ, but also of the Holy Spirit, and 
hastened to gather together the Gentiles. 

103. And not only Paul, but also, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles, 
Peter. For when he had seen in his prayer heaven opened and a certain 



341 

vessel tied at the four corners, as it were a sheet in which were all kinds of 
four-fooled beasts and wild beasts and fowls of the air, "a voice came to 
him saying, Arise, Peter, kill and eat. And Peter said, Be it far from me, 
Lord, I have never eaten anything common or unclean. And again a voice 
came to him, saying, What God hath cleansed call not thou common. And 
this was done three times, and the vessel was received back into heaven." 
And so when Peter was silently thinking over this with himself, and the 
servants of Cornelius appointed by the Angel had come to him, the Spirit 
said to him, "Lo, men are seeking thee, rise therefore, and go down and go 
with them; doubt not, for I have sent thee." 

104. How clearly did the Holy Spirit express His own power I First of all 
in that He inspired him who was praying, and was present to him who 
was entreating; then when Peter, being called, answer "Lord," and so was 
found worthy of a second message, because he acknowledged the Lord. 
But the Scripture declares Who that Lord was, for He Whom he had 
answered spoke to him when he answered. And the following words show 
the Spirit clearly revealed, for He Who formed the mystery made known 
the mystery. 

105. Notice, also, that the appearance of the mystery three times repeated 
expressed the operation of the Trinity. And so in the mysteries the 
threefold question is put, and the threefold answer made, and no one can 
be cleansed but by a threefold confession. For which reason, also, Peter in 
the Gospel is asked three times whether he loves the Lord, that by the 
threefold answer the bonds of the guilt he had contracted by denying the 
Lord might be loosed. 

106. Then, again, because the Angel is sent to Cornelius, the Holy Spirit 
speaks to Peter: "For the eyes of the Lord are over the faithful of the 
earth." Nor is it without a purpose that when He had said before, "What 
God hath cleansed call not thou common," the Holy Spirit came upon the 
Gentiles to purify them, when it is manifest that the operation of the 
Spirit is a divine operation. But Peter, when sent by the Spirit, did not 
wait for the command of God the Father, but acknowledged that that 
message was from the Spirit Himself, and the grace that of the Spirit 
Himself, when he said: "If, then, God has granted them the same grace as 
to us, who was I that I should resist God?" 



342 

107. It is, then, the Holy Spirit Who has delivered us from that Gentile 
impurity. For in those kinds of four-fooled creatures and wild beasts and 
birds there was a figure of the condition of man, which appears clothed 
with the bestial ferocity of wild beasts unless it grows gentle by the 
sanctification of the Spirit. Excellent, then, is that grace which changes the 
rage of beasts into the simplicity of the Spirit: "For we also were aforetime 
foolish, unbelieving, erring, serving divers lusts and pleasures. But now by 
the renewing of the Spirit we begin to be heirs of Christ, and joint-heirs 
with the Angels." 

108. Therefore the holy prophet David, seeing in the Spirit that we should 
from wild beasts become like the dwellers in heaven, says, "Rebuke the 
wild beasts of the wood," evidently signifying, not the wood disturbed by 
the running of wild beasts, and shaken with the roaring of animals, but that 
wood of which it is written: "We found it in the fields of the wood." In 
which, as the prophet said: "The righteous shall flourish as the palm-tree, 
and shall be multiplied as the cedar which is in Libanus." That wood 
which, shaken in the tops of the trees spoken of in prophecy, shed forth 
the nourishment of the heavenly Word. That wood into which Paul entered 
indeed as a ravening wolf, but went forth as a shepherd, for "their sound is 
gone out into all the earth." 

109. We then were wild beasts, and therefore the Lord said: "Beware of 
false prophets, which come in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening 
wolves." But now, through the Holy Spirit, the rage of lions, the spots of 
leopards, the craft of foxes, the rapacity of wolves, have passed away 
from our feelings; great, then, is the grace which has changed earth to 
heaven, that the conversation of us, who once were wandering as wild 
beasts in the woods, might be in heaven. 

110. And not only in this place, but also elsewhere in the same book, the 
Apostle Peter declared that the Church was built by the Holy Spirit. For 
you read that he said: "God, Which knoweth the hearts of men, bare 
witness, giving them the Holy Spirit, even as also to us; and He made no 
distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith." In which 
is to be considered, that as Christ is the Cornerstone, Who joined together 
both peoples into one, so, too, the Holy Spirit made no distinction 
between the hearts of each people, but united them. 



343 

1 1 1. Do not, then, like a Jew, despise the Son, Whom the prophets 
foretold; for you would despise also the Holy Spirit, you would despise 
Isaiah, you would despise Jeremiah, whom he who was chosen of the Lord 
raised with rags and cords from the pit of that Jewish abode. For the 
people of the Jews, despising the word of prophecy, had cast him into the 
pit. Nor was there found any. one of the Jews to draw the prophet out, 
but one Ethiopian Abdemelech, as the Scripture testifies. 

1 12. In which account is a very beautiful figure, that is to say, that we, 
sinners of the Gentiles, black beforehand through our transgressions, and 
aforetime fruitless, raised from the depth the word of prophecy which the 
Jews had thrust down, as it were, into the mire of their mind and carnality. 
And therefore it is written: "Ethiopia shall stretch out her hand unto God." 
In which is signified the appearance of holy Church, who says in the Song 
of Songs: "I am black and comely, O daughters of Jerusalem;" black 
through sin, comely through grace; black by natural condition, comely 
through redemption, or certainly, black with the dust of her labors. So she 
is black while fighting, is comely when she is crowned with the ornaments 
of victory. 

113. And fittingly is the prophet raised by cords, for the faithful writer 
said: "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places." And fittingly with 
rags; for the Lord Himself, when those who had been first invited to the 
marriage made excuse, sent to the partings of the highways, that as many 
as were found, both bad and good, should be invited to the marriage. With 
these rags, then, He lifted the word of prophecy from the mire. 



344 

CHAPTER 11 



We shall follow the example of Abdemelech, if we believe that the 
Son and Holy Spirit know all things. This knowledge is attributed m 
Scripture to the Spirit, and also to the Son. The Son is glorified by 
the Spirit, as also the Spirit by the Son. Also, inasmuch as we read 
that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit say and reveal the same 
things, we must acknowledge in Them a oneness of nature and 
knowledge. Lastly, that the Spirit searcheth the deep things of God 
is not a mark of ignorance, since the Father and the Son are 
likewise said to search, and Paul, although chosen by Christ, yet was 
taught by the Spirit. 

1 1 4 . A nd you, too, shall be Abdemelech, that is, chosen by the Lord, if 
you raise the Word of God from the depth of Gentile ignorance; if you 
believe that the Son of God is not deceived, that nothing escapes His 
knowledge, that He is not ignorant of what is going to be. And the Holy 
Spirit also is not deceived, of Whom the Lord says: "But when He, the 
Spirit of Truth, shall come, He shall lead you into all truth." He Who says 
all passes by nothing, neither the day nor the hour, neither things past nor 
things to come. 

115. And that you may know that He both knows all things, and foretells 
things to come, and that His knowledge is one with that of the Father and 
the Son, hear what the Truth of God says concerning Him: "For He shall 
not speak from Himself, but what things He shall hear shall He speak, and 
He shall declare unto you the things that are to come." 

1 16. Therefore, that you may observe that He knows all things, when the 
Son said: "But of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the Angels 
of heaven," He excepted the Holy Spirit. But if the Holy Spirit is excepted 
from ignorance, how is the Son of God not excepted? 

1 17. But you say that He numbered the Son of God also with the Angels. 
He numbered the Son indeed, but He did not number the Spirit also. 
Confess, then, either that the Holy Spirit is greater than the Son of God, so 
as to speak now not only as an Arian, but even as a Photinian, or 



345 

acknowledge to what yon ought to refer it that He said that the Son knew 
not. For as man He could [in His human nature] be numbered with 
creatures Who were created. 

118. But if you are willing to learn that the Son of God knows all things, 
and has foreknowledge of all, see that those very things which you think to 
be unknown to the Son, the Holy Spirit received from the Son. He received 
them, however, through Unity of Substance, as the Son received from the 
Father. "He," says He, "shall glorify Me, for He shall receive of Mine and 
shall declare it unto you. All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine 
therefore said I, He shall receive of Mine, and shall declare it unto you." 
What, then, is more clear than this Unity? What things the Father hath 
pertain to the Son; what things the Son hath the Holy Spirit also has 
received. 

1 19. Yet learn that the Son knows the day of judgment. We read in 
Zechariah: "And the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with Him. 
In that day there shall not be light, but cold and frost, and it shall be one 
day, and that day is known unto the Lord." This day, then, was known 
unto the Lord, Who shall come with His saints, to enlighten us by His 
second Advent. 

120. But let us continue the point which we have commenced concerning 
the Spirit. For in the passage we have brought forward you find that the 
Son says of the Spirit: "He shall glorify Me." So, then, the Spirit glorifies 
the Son, as the Father also glorifies Him, but the Son of God also glorifies 
the Spirit, as we said above. He, then, is not weak who is the cause of the 
mutual glory through the Unity of the Eternal Light, nor is He inferior to 
the Spirit, of Whom this is true that He is glorified by the Spirit. 

122. And you too shall be chosen, if you believe that the Spirit spoke that 
which the Father spoke, and which the Son spoke. Paul, in fine, was 
therefore chosen because he so believed and so taught, since, as it is 
written, God "hath revealed to us by His Spirit that which eye hath not 
seen, nor ear heard, nor hath entered into the heart of man, the things 
which God hath prepared for them that love Him." And therefore is He 
called the Spirit of revelation, as you read: "For God giveth to those who 



346 

thus prepare themselves the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, that He may 
be known." 

123. There is, then, a Unity of knowledge, since, as the Father, Who gives 
the Spirit of revelation, reveals, so also the Son reveals, for it is written: 
"No one knoweth the Son save the Father, neither doth any one know the 
Father save the Son, and he to whom the Son shall will to reveal Him." He 
said more concerning the Son, not because He has more than the Father, 
but lest He should be supposed to have less. And not unfittingly is the 
Father thus revealed by the Son, for the Son knows the Father even as the 
Father knows the Son. 

124. Learn now that the Spirit too knows God the Father, for it is written 
that, "As no one knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit which is in 
him, so too the things of God no one knoweth save the Spirit of God." 
"No one," he says, "knoweth save the Spirit of God." Is, then, the Son of 
God excluded? Certainly not, since neither is the Spirit excluded, when it is 
said: "And none knoweth the Father, save the Son." 

125. Therefore the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are of one nature and of 
one knowledge. And the Spirit is not to be numbered with all things which 
were made by the Son, since He knew the Father, Whom (as it is written) 
who can know save the Son? But the Holy Spirit knows also. What then? 
When the totality of created things is spoken of, it follows that the Holy 
Spirit is not included. 

126. Now I should like them to answer what it is in man which knows the 
things of a man. Certainly that must be reasonable which surpasses the 
other powers of the soul, and by which the highest nature of man is 
estimated. What, then, is the Spirit, Who knows the deep things of God, 
and through Whom Almighty God is revealed? Is He inferior in the fullness 
of the Godhead Who is proved even by this instance to be of one 
substance with the Father? Or is He ignorant of anything Who knows the 
counsels of God, and His mysteries which have been hidden from the 
beginning? What is there that He knows not Who knows all things that are 
of God? For "the Spirit searcheth even the deep things of God." 

127. But lest you should think that He searches things unknown, and so 
searches that He may learn that which He knows not, it is stated first that 



347 

God revealed them to us through His Spirit, and at the same time in order 
that you may learn that the Spirit knows the things which are revealed to 
us through the Spirit Himself, it is said subsequently: "For who among 
men knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the man which is in 
him? so, too, the things of God knoweth no one save the Spirit of God." If, 
then, the spirit of a man knows the things of a man, and knows them 
before it searches, can there be anything of God which the Spirit of God 
knows not? Of Whom the Apostle said not without a purpose, "The 
things of God knoweth no one, save the Spirit of God;" not that He knows 
by searching, but knows by nature; not that the knowledge of divine things 
is an accident in Him, but is His natural knowledge. 

128. But if this moves you that He said "searcheth," learn that this is also 
said of God, inasmuch as He is the searcher of hearts and reins. For 
Himself said: "I am He that searcheth the heart and reins." And of the Son 
of God you have also in the Epistle to the Hebrews: "Who is the Searcher 
of the mind and thoughts." Whence it is clear that no inferior searches the 
inward things of his superior, for to know hidden things is of the divine 
power alone. The Holy Spirit, then, is a searcher in like manner as the 
Father, and the Son is a searcher in like manner, by the proper signification 
of which expression this is implied, that evidently there is nothing which 
He knows not, Whom nothing escapes. 

129. Lastly, he was chosen by Christ, and taught by the Spirit. For as he 
himself witnesses, having obtained through the Spirit knowledge of the 
divine secrets, he shows both that the Holy Spirit knows God, and has 
revealed to us the things which are of God, as the Son also has revealed 
them. And he adds: "But we received, not the spirit of this world, but the 
Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are given to us 
by God, which we also speak, not in persuasive words of man's wisdom, 
but in manifestation of the Spirit and in the power of God." 



348 
CHAPTER 12 



After proof that the Spirit is the Giver of revelation equally with the 
Father and the Son, it is explained how the same Spirit does not 
speak of Himself; and it is shown that no bodily organs are to be 
thought of in Him, and that no inferiority is to be supposed from the 
fact of our reading that He hears, since the same would have to be 
attributed to the Son, and indeed even to the Father, since He hears 
the Son. The Spirit then hears and glorifies the Son in the sense 
that He revealed Him to the prophets and apostles, by which the 
Unity of operation of the Three Persons is inferred; and, since the 
Spirit does the same works as the Father, the substance of each is 
also declared to be the same. 

130. It has then been proved that like as God has revealed to us the things 
which are His, so too the Son, and so too the Spirit, has revealed the things 
of God. For our knowledge proceeds from one Spirit, through one Son to 
one Father; and from one Father through one Son to one Holy Spirit is 
delivered goodness and sanctification and the sovereign right of eternal 
power. Where, then, there is a manifestation of the Spirit, there is the 
power of God, nor can there be any distinction where the work is one. 
And therefore that which the Son says the Father also says, and that 
which the Father says the Son also says, and that which the Father and the 
Son say the Holy Spirit also says. 

131. Whence also the Son of God said concerning the Holy Spirit: "He 
shall not speak from Himself," that is, not without the participation of the 
Father and Myself. For the Spirit is not divided and separated, but speaks 
what He hears. He hears, that is to say, by unity of substance and by the 
property of knowledge. For He receives not hearing by any orifices of the 
body, nor does the divine voice resound with any carnal measures, nor 
does He hear what He knows not; since commonly in human matters 
hearing produces knowledge, and yet not even in men themselves is there 
always bodily speech or fleshly hearing. For "he that speaketh in 
tongues," it is said, "speaketh not to men but to God, for no one heareth, 
but in the Spirit he speaketh mysteries." 



349 

132. Therefore if in men hearing is not always of the body, do you require 
in God the voices of man' s weakness, and certain organs of fleshly hearing, 
when He is said to hear in order that we may believe that He knows? For 
we know that which we have heard, and we hear beforehand that we may 
be able to know; but in God Who knows all things knowledge goes before 
hearing. So in order to state that the Son is not ignorant of what the Father 
wills, we say that He has heard; but in God there is no sound nor syllable, 
such as usually signify the indication of the will; but oneness of will is 
comprehended in hidden ways in God, but in us is shown by signs. 

133. What means, then, "He shall not speak from Himself? This is, He 
shall not speak without Me; for He speaks the truth, He breathes wisdom. 
He speaks not without the Father, for He is the Spirit of God; He hears 
not from Himself, for all things are of God. 

134. The Son received all things from the Father, for He Himself said:" All 
things have been delivered unto Me from My Father." All that is the 
Father's the Son also has, for He says again: "All things which the Father 
hath are Mine." And those things which He Himself received by Unity of 
nature, the Spirit by the same Unity of nature received also from Him, as 
the Lord Jesus Himself declares, when speaking of His Spirit: "Therefore 
said I, He shall receive of Mine and shall declare it unto you." Therefore 
what the Spirit says is the Son's, what the Son hath given is the Father's. 
So neither the Son nor the Spirit speaks anything of Himself. For the 
Trinity speaks nothing external to Itself. 

135. But if you contend that this is an argument for the weakness of the 
Holy Spirit, and for a kind of likeness to the lowliness of the body, you 
will also make it an argument to the injury of the Son, because the Son said 
of Himself: "As I hear I judge," and "The Son can do nothing else than 
what He seeth the Father doing." For if that be true, as it is, which the Son 
said: "All things which the Father hath are Mine," and the Son according to 
the Godhead is One with the Father, One by natural substance, not 
according to the Sabellian falsehood; that which is one by the property of 
substance certainly cannot be separated, and so the Son cannot do 
anything except what He has heard of the Father, for the Word of God 
endures forever, nor is the Father ever separated from the operation of the 



350 

Son; and that which the Son works He knows that the Father wills, and 
what the Father wills the Son knows how to work. 

136. Lastly, that one may not think that there is any difference of work 
either in time or in order between the Father and the Son, but may believe 
the oneness of the same operation, He says: "The works which I do He 
doeth." And again, that one may not think that there is any difference in 
the distinction of the works, but may judge that the will, the working, and 
the power of the Father and the Son are the same, Wisdom says concerning 
the Father: "For whatsoever things He doeth, the Son likewise doeth the 
same." So that the action of neither Person is before or after that of the 
Other, but the same result of one operation. And for this reason the Son 
says that He can do nothing of Himself, because His operation cannot be 
separated from that of the Father. In like manner the operation of the Holy 
Spirit is not separated. Whence also the things which He speaks, He is said 
to hear from the Father. 

137. What if I demonstrate that the Father also hears the Son, as the Son 
too hears the Father? For you have it written in the Gospel that the Son 
says: "Father, I thank Thee that Thou heardest Me." How did the Father 
hear the Son, since in the previous passage concerning Lazarus the Son 
spoke nothing to the Father? And that we might not think that the Son 
was heard once by the Father, He added: "And I knew that Thou hearest 
Me always." Therefore the hearing is not that of subject obedience, but of 
eternal Unity. 

138. In like manner, then, the Spirit is said to hear from the Father, and to 
glorify the Son. To glorify, because the Holy Spirit taught us that the Son 
is the Image of the invisible God, and the brightness of His glory, and the 
impress of His substance. The Spirit also spoke in the patriarchs and the 
prophets, and, lastly, the apostles began then to be more perfect after that 
they had received the Holy Spirit. There is therefore no separation of the 
divine power and grace, for although "there are diversities of gifts, yet it is 
the same Spirit; and diversities of ministrations, yet the same Lord; and 
diversities of operations, yet the same God Who worketh all in all." There 
are diversities of offices, not severances of the Trinity. 



351 

139. Lastly, it is the same God Who worketh all in all, that you may know 
that there is no diversity of operation between God the Father and the 
Holy Spirit; since those things which the Spirit works, God the Father also 
works, "Who worketh all in all." For while God the Father worketh all in 
all, yet "to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another 
the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; to another faith, in 
the same Spirit; to another the gift of healings, in the one Spirit; to another 
the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of 
spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of 
sayings; but all these worketh one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one 
as He will." 

140. There is then no doubt but that those things which the Father 
worketh, the Spirit worketh also. Nor does He work in accordance with a 
command, as he who hears in bodily fashion, but voluntarily, as being free 
in His own will, not the servant of the power of another. For He does not 
obey as being bidden, but as the giver He is the controller of His own gifts. 

141. Consider meanwhile whether you can say that the Spirit effects all 
things which the Father effects; for you cannot deny that the Father 
effects those things which the Holy Spirit effects; otherwise the Father 
does not effect all things, if He effects not those things which the Spirit 
also effects. But if the Father also effects those things which the Spirit 
effects, since the Spirit divides His operations, according to His own will, 
you must of necessity say, either that what the Spirit divides He divides 
according to His own will, against the will of God the Father; or if you say 
that the Father wills the same that the Holy Spirit wills, you must of 
necessity confess the oneness of the divine will and operation, even if you 
do it unwillingly, and, if not with the heart, at least with the mouth. 

142. But if the Holy Spirit is of one will and operation with God the 
Father, He is also of one substance, since the Creator is known by His 
works. So, then, it is the same Spirit, he says, the same Lord, the same 
God. And if you say Spirit. He is the same; and if you say Lord, He is the 
same; and if you say God, He is the same. Not the same, so that Himself is 
Father, Himself Son, Himself Spirit [one and the selfsame Person]; but 
because both the Father and the Son are the same Power. He is, then, the 
same in substance and in power, for there is not in the Godhead either the 



352 

confusion of Sabellius nor the division of Arius, nor any earthly and bodily 
change. 



353 
CHAPTER 13 



Prophecy was not only from the Father and the Son but also from the 
Spirit; the authority and operation of the latter on the apostles is 
signified to be the same as Theirs; and so we are to understand that 
them is unity in the three points of authority, rule, and bounty; yet 
need no disadvantage be feared from that participation, since such 
does not arise in human friendship. Lastly, it is established that this 
is the inheritance of the apostolic faith from the fact that the 
apostles are described as having obeyed the Holy Spirit. 

1 43 . T ake, O sacred Emperor, another strong instance in this question, 
and one known to you: "In many ways and in divers manners, God spake 
to the fathers in the prophets." And the Wisdom of God said: "I will send 
prophets and apostles." And "To one is given," as it is written, "through 
the Spirit, the word of wisdom; to another, the word of knowledge, 
according to the same Spirit; to another faith, in the same Spirit; to 
another, the gift of healings, in the one Spirit; to another, the working of 
miracles; to another, prophecy." Therefore, according to the Apostle, 
prophecy is not only through the Father and the Son, but also through the 
Holy Spirit, and therefore the office is one, and the grace one. So you find 
that the Spirit also is the author of prophecies. 

144. The apostles also said: "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us." 
And when they say, "It seemed good," they point out not only the 
Worker of the grace, but also the Author of the carrying out of that which 
was commanded. For as we read of God: "It pleased God;" so, too, when 
it is said that, "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit," one who is master of 
his own power is portrayed. 

145. And how should He not be a master Who speaks what He wills, and 
commands what He wills, as the Father commands and the Son 
commands? For as Paul heard the voice saying to him, "I am Jesus, Whom 
thou persecutest," so, too, the Spirit forbade Paul and Silas to go into 
Bithynia. And as the Father spake through the prophets, so, too, Agabus 
says concerning the Spirit: "Thus saith the Holy Spirit, Thus shall the 



354 

Jews in Jerusalem bind the man, whose is this girdle." And as Wisdom sent 
the apostles, saying, "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel," so, 
too, the Holy Spirit says: "Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work 
whereunto I have called them." And so being sent forth by the Holy Spirit, 
as the Scripture points out farther on, they were distinguished in nothing 
from the other apostles, as though they were sent in one way by God the 
Father, in another way by Spirit. 

146. Lastly, Paul having been sent by the Spirit, was both a vessel of 
election on Christ' s part, and himself relates that God wrought in him, 
saying: "For He that wrought for Peter unto the apostleship of the 
circumcision, wrought for me also unto the Gentiles." Since, then, the Same 
wrought in Paul Who wrought in Peter, it is certainly evident that, since 
the Spirit wrought in Paul, the Holy Spirit wrought also in Peter. But Peter 
himself testifies that God the Father wrought in him, as it is stated in the 
Acts of the Apostles that Peter rose up and said to them: "Men and 
brethren, ye know that a good while ago God made choice amongst us that 
the Gentiles should hear the word of the Gospel from my mouth." See, 
then, in Peter God wrought the grace of preaching. And who would dare to 
deny the operation of Christ in him, since he was certainly elected and 
chosen by Christ, when the Lord said: "Feed My lambs." 

147. The operation, then, of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is 
one, unless perchance you, who deny the oneness of the same operation 
upon the Apostle, think this; that the Father and the Spirit wrought in 
Peter, in whom the Son had wrought, as if the operation of the Son by no 
means sufficed for him to the attainment of the grace. And so the strength 
of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit being as it were joined and 
brought together, the work was manifold, lest the operation of Christ alone 
should be too weak to establish Peter. 

148. And not only in Peter is there found to be one operation of the 
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but also in all the apostles the unity 
of the divine operation, and a certain authority over the dispensations of 
heaven. For the divine operation works by the power of a command, not in 
the execution of a ministry; for God, when He works, does not fashion 
anything by toil or art, but "He spake and they were made." He said, "Let 



355 

there be light, and there was light," for the effecting of the work is 
comprised in the commandment of God. 

149. We can, then, easily find, if we will consider, that this royal power is 
by the witness of the Scriptures attributed to the Holy Spirit; and it will 
be made clear that all the apostles were not only disciples of Christ, but 
also ministers of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As also the 
teacher of the Gentiles tells us, when he says: "God hath set some in the 
Church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers; then 
miracles, the gift of healings, helps, governments, divers kinds of tongues." 

150. See, God set apostles, and set prophets and teachers, gave the gift of 
healings, which you find above to be given by the Holy Spirit; gave divers 
kinds of tongues. But yet all are not apostles, all are not prophets, all are 
not teachers. Not all, says he, have the gift of healings, nor do all, says he, 
speak with tongues. For the whole of the divine gifts cannot exist in each 
several man; each, according to his capacity, receives that which he either 
desires or deserves. But the power of the Trinity, which is lavish of all 
graces, is not like this weakness. 

151. Lastly, God set apostles. Those whom God set in the Church, Christ 
chose and ordained to be apostles, and sent them into the world, saying: 
"Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to the whole creation. He 
that shall believe and be baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not 
shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe. In My 
Name shall they cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues, they 
shall take up serpents, and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not 
hurt them, they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." You 
see the Father and Christ also set teachers in the Churches; and as the 
Father gives the gift of healings, so, too, does the Son give; as the Father 
gives the gift of tongues, so, too, has the Son also granted it. 

152. In like manner we have heard also above concerning the Holy Spirit, 
that He too grants the same kinds of graces. For it is said: "To one is given 
through the Spirit the gift of healings, to another divers kinds of tongues, 
to another prophecy." So, then, the Spirit gives the same gifts as the 
Father, and the Son also gives them. Let us now learn more expressly what 
we have touched upon above, that the Holy Spirit entrusts the same office 



356 

as the Father and the Son, and appoints the same persons; since Paul said: 
"Take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock in the which the Holy Spirit 
has made you overseers to rule the Church of God." 

153. There is, then, unity of authority, unity of appointment, unity of 
giving. For if you separate appointment and power, what cause was there 
[for maintaining] that those whom Christ appointed as apostles, God the 
Father appointed, and the Holy Spirit appointed? unless, perhaps, as if 
sharing a possession or a right, They, like men, were afraid of legal 
prejudice, and therefore the operation was divided, and the authority 
distributed. 

154. These things are narrow and paltry, even between men, who for the 
most part, although they do not agree in action, yet agree in will. So that a 
certain person being asked what a friend is, answered, "A second self." If, 
then, a man so defined a friend as to say, he was a second self, that is to 
say, through a oneness of love and good- will, how much more ought we to 
esteem the oneness of Majesty, in the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Ghost, when by the same operation and divine power, either the unity, or 
certainly that which is more, the Tat)TOTr|<;, as it is called in Greek, is 
expressed, for Tociko signifies "the same," so that the Father, the Son, and 
the Holy Spirit have the same; so that to have the same will and the same 
power does not arise from the affection of the will, but inheres in the 
substance of the Trinity. 

155. This is the inheritance of apostolic faith and devotion, which one may 
observe also in the Acts of the Apostles. Therefore Paul and Barnabas 
obeyed the commands of the Holy Spirit. And all the apostles obeyed, and 
forthwith ordained those whom the Spirit had ordered to be separated: 
"Separate Me," said He, "Barnabas and Saul." Do you see the authority of 
Him Who commands? Consider the merit of those who obey. 

156. Paul believed, and because he believed he cast off the zeal of a 
persecutor, and gained a crown of righteousness. He believed who used to 
make havoc of the Churches; but being converted to the faith, he preached 
in the Spirit that which the Spirit commanded. The Spirit anointed His 
champion, and having shaken off the dust of unbelief, presented him as an 
insuperable conqueror of the unbelievers to various assemblies of the 



357 

ungodly, and trained him by many sufferings for the prize of his high 
calling in Christ Jesus. 

157. Barnabas also believed, and obeyed because he believed. Therefore, 
being chosen by the authority of the Holy Spirit, Which came on him 
abundantly, as a special sign of his merits, he was not unworthy of so 
great a fellowship. For one grace shone in these whom one Spirit had 
chosen. 

158. Nor was Paul inferior to Peter, though the latter was the foundation 
of the Church, and the former a wise builder knowing how to make firm 
the footsteps of the nations who believed; Paul was not, I say, unworthy 
of the fellowship of the apostles, but is easily comparable with the first, 
and second to none. For he who knows not that he is inferior makes 
himself equal. 



358 

BOOK III 

CHAPTER 1 



Not only were the prophets and apostles sent by the Spirit, but also 
the Son of God. This is proved from Isaiah and the evangelists, and it 
is explained why St. Luke wrote that the same Spirit descended like 
a dove upon Christ and abode upon Him. Next, after establishing this 
mission of Christ, the writer infers that the Son is sent by the 
Father and the Spirit, as the Spirit is by the Father and the Son. 

1 . In the former book we have shown by the clear evidence of the 
Scriptures that the apostles and prophets were appointed, the latter to 
prophesy, the former to preach the Gospel, by the Holy Spirit in the same 
way as by the Father and the Son; now we add what all will rightly 
wonder at, and not be able to doubt, that the Spirit was upon Christ; and 
that as He sent the Spirit, so the Spirit sent the Son of God. For the Son of 
God says: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed 
Me, He hath sent Me to preach the Gospel to the poor, to proclaim 
liberty to the captives, and sight to the blind." And having read this from 
the Book of Isaiah, He says in the Gospel: "To-day hath this Scripture 
been fulfilled in your ears;" that He might point out that it was said of 
Himself. 

2. Can we, then, wonder if the Spirit sent both the prophets and the 
apostles, since Christ said: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me"? And 
rightly did He say "upon Me," because He was speaking as the Son of 
Man. For as the Son of Man He was anointed and sent to preach the 
Gospel. 

3. But if they believe not the Son, let them hear the Father also saying that 
the Spirit of the Lord is upon Christ. For He says to John: "Upon 
whomsoever thou shalt see the Spirit descending from heaven and abiding 
upon Him, He it is Who baptizeth with the Holy Spirit." God the Father 
said this to John, and John heard and saw and believed. He heard from 



359 

God, he saw in the Lord, he believed that it was the Spirit Who was 
coming down from heaven. For it was not a dove that descended, but the 
Holy Spirit as a dove; for thus it is written: "I saw the Spirit descending 
from heaven as a dove." 

4. As John says that he saw, so, too, wrote Mark; Luke, however, added 
that the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form as a dove; you must not 
think that this was an incarnation, but an appearance. He, then, brought 
the appearance before him, that by means of the appearance he might 
believe who did not see the Spirit, and that by the appearance He might 
manifest that He had a share of the one honor in authority, the one 
operation in the mystery, the one gift in the bath, together with the Father 
and the Son; unless perchance we consider Him in Whom the Lord was 
baptized too weak for the servant to be baptized in Him. 

5. And he said fittingly, "abiding upon Him," because the Spirit inspired a 
saying or acted upon the prophets as often as He would, but abode always 
in Christ. 

6. Nor, again, let it move you that he said "upon Him," for he was 
speaking of the Son of Man, because he was baptized as the Son of Man. 
For the Spirit is not upon Christ, according to the Godhead, but in Christ; 
for, as the Father is in the Son, and the Son in the Father, so the Spirit of 
God and the Spirit of Christ is both in the Father and in the Son, for He is 
the Spirit of His mouth. For He Who is of God abides in God, as it is 
written: "But we received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit which 
is of God." And He abides in Christ, Who has received from Christ; for it 
is written again: "He shall take of Mine:" and elsewhere: "The law of the 
Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and death." 
He is, then, not over Christ according to the Godhead of Christ, for the 
Trinity is not over Itself, but over all things: It is not over Itself but in 
Itself. 

7. Who, then, can doubt that the Spirit sent the prophets and apostles, 
since the Son of God says: "The Spirit of the Lord is. upon Me." And 
elsewhere: "I am the First, and I am also for ever, and Mine hand hath 
rounded the earth, and My right hand hath established the heaven; I will 
call them and they shall stand up together, and shall all be gathered 



360 

together and shall hear. Who hath declared these things to them? Because I 
loved thee I performed thy pleasure against Babylon, that the seed of the 
Chaldaeans might be taken away. I have spoken, and I have called, I have 
brought him and have made his way prosperous. Come unto Me and hear 
ye this. From the beginning I have not spoken in secret, I was there when 
those things were done; and now the Lord God hath sent Me and His 
Spirit." Who is it Who says: The Lord God hath sent Me and His Spirit, 
except He Who came from the Father that He might save sinners? And, as 
you hear, the Spirit sent Him, lest when you hear that the Son sends the 
Spirit, you should believe the Spirit to be of inferior power. 

8. So both the Father and the Spirit sent the Son; the Father sent Him, for 
it is written: "But the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will 
send in My Name." The Son sent Him, for He said: "But when the 
Paraclete is come, Whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the 
Spirit of Truth." If, then, the Son and the Spirit send each other, as the 
Father sends, there is no inferiority of subjection, but a community of 
power. 



361 
CHAPTER 2 



The Son and the Spirit are alike given; whence not subjection but 
one Godhead is shown by Its working. 

9 . A nd not only did the Father send the Son, but also gave Him, as the Son 
Himself gave Himself. For we read: "Grace to you from God our Father 
and the Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for our sins." If they think 
that He was subject in that He was sent, they cannot deny that it was of 
grace that He was given. But He was given by the Father, as Isaiah said: 
"Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given;" but He was given, I dare 
to say it, by the Spirit also, Who was sent by the Spirit. For since the 
prophet has not defined by whom He was given, he shows that He was 
given by the grace of the Trinity; and inasmuch as the Son Himself gave 
Himself, He could not be subject to Himself according to His Godhead. 
Therefore that He was given could not be a sign of subjection in the 
God-head. 

10. But the Holy Spirit also was given, for it is written: "I will ask the 
Father, and He shall give you another Paraclete." And the Apostle says: 
"Wherefore he that despiseth these things despiseth not man but God, 
Who hath given us His Holy Spirit." Isaiah, too, shows that both the Spirit 
and the Son are given: "Thus," says he, "saith the Lord God, Who made 
the heaven and fashioned it, Who stablished the earth, and the things which 
are in it, and giveth breath to the people upon it, and the Spirit to them 
that walk upon it." And to the Son: "I am the Lord God, Who have called 
Thee in righteousness, and will hold Thine hand, and will strengthen Thee; 
and I have given Thee for a covenant of My people, for a light of the 
Gentiles, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out of their fetters those 
that are bound." Since, then, the Son is both sent and given, and the Spirit 
also is both sent and given, They have assuredly a oneness of Godhead 
Who have a oneness of action. 



362 
CHAPTER 3 



The same Unity may also be recognized from the fact that the Spirit 
is called Finger, and the Son Right Hand; for the understanding of 
divine things is assisted by the usage of human language. The tables 
of the law were written by this Finger, and they were afterwards 
broken, and the reason. Lastly, Christ wrote with the same Finger; 
yet we must not admit any inferiority in the Spirit from this bodily 
comparison. 

11. So, too, the Spirit is also called the Finger of God, because there is an 
indivisible and inseparable communion between the Father, the Son, and 
the Holy Spirit. For as the Scripture called the Son of God the Right Hand 
of God, as it is said: "Thy Right Hand, O Lord, is made glorious in power. 
Thy Right Hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy;" so the Holy 
Spirit is called the Finger of God, as the Lord Himself says: "But if I by 
the Finger of God cast out devils." For in the same place in another book 
of the Gospel He named the Spirit of God, as you find: "But if I by the 
Spirit of God cast out devils." 

12. What, then, could have been said to signify more expressly the unity of 
the Godhead, or of Its working, which Unity is according to the Godhead 
of the Father, or of the Son, or of the Holy Spirit, than that we should 
understand that the fullness of the eternal Godhead would seem to be 
divided far more than this body of ours, if any one were to sever the unity 
of Substance, and multiply Its powers, whereas the eternity of the same 
Godhead is one? 

13. For oftentimes it is convenient to estimate from our own words those 
things which are above us, and because we cannot see those things we 
draw inferences from those which we can see. "For the invisible things of 
Him," says the Apostle, "from the creation of the world are clearly seen, 
being understood by those things which are made." And he adds: "His 
eternal power also and Godhead." Of which one thing seems to be said of 
the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit; that in the same manner as the Son 
is called the eternal Power of the Father, so, also, the Spirit, because He is 



363 

divine, should be believed to be His eternal Godhead. For the Son, too, 
because He ever lives, is eternal life. This Finger, then, of God is both 
eternal and divine. For what is there belonging to God which is not eternal 
and divine? 

14. With this Finger, as we read, God wrote on those tables of stone which 
Moses received. For God did not with a finger of flesh write the forms and 
portions of those letters which we read, but gave the law by His Spirit. 
And so the Apostle says: "For the Law is spiritual, which, indeed, is 
written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of 
stone, but on fleshy tables of the heart." For if the letter of the Apostle is 
written in the Spirit, what hinders us from believing that the Law of God 
was written not with ink, but with the Spirit of God, which certainly does 
not stain but enlightens the secret places of our heart and mind? 

14. Now it was written on tables of stone, because it was written in a 
type, but the tables were first broken and cast out of the hands of Moses, 
because the Jews fell away from the works of the prophet. And fitly were 
the tables broken, not the writing erased. And do you see that your table 
be not broken, that your mind and soul be not divided. Is Christ divided? 
He is not divided, but is one with the Father; and let no one separate you. 
from Him. If your faith fails, the table of your heart is broken. The 
coherence of your soul is lessened if you do not believe the unity of 
Godhead in the Trinity. Your faith is written, and your sin is written, as 
Jeremiah said: "Thy sin, O Judah, is written with a pen of iron and the 
point of a diamond. And it is written," he says, "on thy breast and on thy 
heart." The sin, therefore, is there where grace is, but the sin is written 
with a pen, grace is denoted by the Spirit. 

15. With this Finger, also, the Lord Jesus, with bowed head, mystically 
wrote on the ground, when the adulteress was brought before Him by the 
Jews, signifying in a figure that, when we judge of the sins of another, we 
ought to remember our own. 

16. And lest, again, because God wrote the Law by His Spirit, we should 
believe any inferiority, as it were, concerning the ministry of the Spirit, or 
from the consideration of our own body should think the Spirit to be a 
small part of God, the Apostle says, elsewhere, that he does not speak 



364 

with words of human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, and that 
he compares spiritual things with spiritual; but that the natural man 
receiveth not the things which pertain to the Spirit of God. For he knew 
that he who compared divine with carnal things was amongst natural 
things, and not to be reckoned amongst spiritual men; "for they are 
foolishness," he says, "unto him." And so, because he knew that these 
questions would arise amongst natural men, foreseeing the future he says: 
"For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? 
But we have the mind of Christ." 



365 
CHAPTER 4 



To those who contend that the Spirit because He is called the Finger 
is less than the Father, St. Ambrose replies that this would also tend 
to the lessening of the Son, Who is called the Right Hand. That 
these names are to be referred only to the Unity, for which reason 
Moses proclaimed that the whole Trinity worked in the passage of 
the Red Sea. And, indeed, it is no wonder that the operation of the 
Spirit found place there, where there was a figure of baptism, since 
the Scripture teaches that the Three Persons equally sanctify and 
are operative in that sacrament. 

17. B ut if any one is still entangled in carnal doubts, and hesitates because 
of bodily figures, let him consider that he cannot think rightly of the Son 
who can think wrongly of the Spirit. For if some think that the Spirit is a 
certain small portion of God, because He is called the Finger of God, the 
same persons must certainly maintain that a small portion only is in the 
Son of God, because He is called the Right Hand of God. 

18. But the Son is called both the Right Hand and the Power of God; if, 
then, we consider our words, there can be no perfection without power; let 
them therefore take care lest they think that which it is impious to say, 
namely, that the Father being but half perfect in His own Substance 
received perfection through the Son, and let them cease to deny that the 
Son is co-eternal with the Father. For when did the Power of God not 
exist? But if they think that at any time the Power of God existed not, 
they will say that at some time Perfection existed not in God the Father, to 
Whom they think that Power was at some time wanting. 

19. But, as I said, these things are written that we may refer them to the 
Unity of the Godhead, and believe that which the Apostle said, that the 
fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in Christ, which dwells also in the 
Father, and dwells in the Holy Spirit; and that, as there is a unity of the 
Godhead, so also is there a unity of operation. 

20. And this may also be gathered from the Song of Moses, for he, after 
leading the people of the Jews through the sea, acknowledged the 



366 

operation of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, saying: "Thy Right 
Hand, O Lord, is glorious in power, Thy Right Hand, O Lord, hath dashed 
in pieces the enemy." Here you have his confession of the Son and of the 
Father, Whose Right Hand He is. And farther on, not to pass by the Holy 
Spirit, He added: "Thou didst send Thy Spirit and the sea covered them, 
and the water was divided by the Spirit of Thine anger." By which is 
signified the unity of the Godhead, not an inequality of the Trinity. 

21. You see, then, that the Holy Spirit also co-operated with the Father 
and the Son, so that just as if the waves were congealed in the midst of the 
sea, a wall as it were of water rose up for the passage of the Jews, and 
then, poured back again by the Spirit, overwhelmed the people of the 
Egyptians. And many think that from the same origin the pillar of cloud 
went before the people of the Jews by day, and the pillar of fire by night, 
that the grace of the Spirit might protect His people. 

22. Now that this operation of God, which the whole world rightly 
wonders at, did not take place without the work of the Holy Spirit, the 
Apostle also declared when he said that the truth of a spiritual mystery 
was prefigured in it, for we read as follows: "For our fathers were all under 
the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and were all baptized in Moses 
in the cloud and in the sea, and did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did 
all drink the same spiritual drink." 

23. For how without the operation of the Holy Spirit could there be the 
type of a sacrament, the whole truth of which is in the Spirit? As the 
Apostle also set forth, saying: "But ye were washed, but ye were 
sanctified, but ye were justified in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and 
in the Spirit of our God." 

24. You see, then, that the Father works in the Son, and that the Son 
works in the Spirit. And therefore do not doubt that, according to the order 
of Scripture, there was in the figure that which the Truth Himself declared 
to be in the truth. For who can deny His operation in the Font, in which 
we feel His operation and grace? 

25. For as the Father sanctifies, so, too, the Son sanctifies, and the Holy 
Spirit sanctifies. The Father sanctifies according to that which is written: 
"The God of peace sanctify you, and may your spirit, soul, and body be 



367 

preserved entire without blame in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." And 
elsewhere the Son says: "Father, sanctify them in the truth." 

26. But of the Son the same Apostle said: "Who was made unto us 
wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." 
Do you see that He was made sanctification? But He was made so unto us, 
not that He should change that which He was, but that He might sanctify 
us in the flesh. 

27. And the Apostle also teaches that the Holy Spirit sanctifies. For he 
speaks thus: "We are bound to give thanks to God always for you, 
brethren dearly beloved of the Lord; because God chose you as first-fruits 
unto salvation, in sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth." 

28. So, then, the Father sanctifies, the Son also sanctifies, and the Holy 
Spirit sanctifies; but the sanctification is one, for baptism is one, and the 
grace of the sacrament is one. 



368 
CHAPTER 5 



The writer sums up the argument he had commenced, and confirms 
the statement that unity is signified by the terms finger and right 
hand, from the fact that the works of God are the same as are the 
works of hands; and that those of hands are the same as those of 
fingers; and lastly, that the term hand applies equally to the Son and 
the Spirit, and that of finger applies to the Spirit and the Son. 

29 . B ut what wonder is it if He Who Himself needs n o sanctification, but 
abounds therewith, sanctifies each man; since, as I said, we have been 
taught that His Majesty is so great, that the Holy Spirit seems to be as 
inseparable from God the Father as the finger is from the body? 

30. But if any one thinks that this should be referred not to the oneness of 
power, but to its lessening, he indeed will fall into such madness as to 
appear to fashion the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as it were into one 
bodily form, and to picture to himself certain distinctions of its members. 

31. But let them learn, as I have often said, that not inequality but unity of 
power is signified by this testimony; inasmuch as things which are the 
works of God are also the works of hands, and we read that the same are 
the works of fingers. For it is written: "The heavens declare the glory of 
God, and the firmament showeth the work of His hands;" and elsewhere: 
"In the beginning Thou didst found the earth, O Lord; and the heavens are 
the works of Thy hands." So, then, the works of the hands are the same as 
the works of God. There is not therefore any distinction of the work 
according to the kind of bodily members, but a oneness of power. 

32. But those which are the works of the hands are also the works of the 
fingers, for it is equally written: "For I will behold Thy heavens, the works 
of Thy fingers, the moon, and the stars, which Thou hast established." 
What less are the fingers here said to have made than the hands, since they 
made the same as the hands, as it is written: "For Thou, Lord, hast made 
me glad through Thy work, and in the works of Thy hands will I rejoice," 



369 

33. And yet since we read that the Son is the hand(for it is written: "Hath 
not My Hand made all these things?" and elsewhere: "I will place thee in 
the cleft of the rock, and I will cover thee with Mine hand, I have placed 
My hand under the covering of the rock," which refers to the mystery of 
the Incarnation, because the eternal Power of God took on Itself the 
covering of a body), it is certainly clear that Scripture used the term hand 
both of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. 

34. And again, since we read that the Spirit is the finger of God, we think 
that fingers [in the plural] are spoken of to signify the Son and Spirit. 
Lastly, that he may state that he received the sanctification both of the Son 
and of the Spirit, a certain saint says: "Thy hands have made me and 
fashioned me." 



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The Spirit rebukes just as do the Father and the Son; and indeed 
judges could not judge without Him, as is shown by the judgments of 
Solomon and Daniel, which are explained in a few words, by the 
way; and no other than the Holy Spirit inspired Daniel. 

3 5 . W hy do we reject like words when we assert the oneness of power, 
since the oneness of power extends so far that the Spirit rebukes, as the 
Father rebukes, and as the Son rebukes. For so it is written: "O Lord, 
rebuke me not in Thine anger, neither chasten me in Thy displeasure." 
Then in the forty-ninth [fiftieth] Psalm, the Lord speaks thus: "I will 
rebuke thee, and will set thy sins before thy face" And in like manner the 
Son said of the Holy Spirit: "When I go away, I will send the Paraclete to 
you. And He, when He is come, will rebuke the world, concerning sin, and 
concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment" 

36. But whither is the madness of faithless men leading us, so that we 
appear to be proving, as if it were a matter of doubt, that the Holy Spirit 
rebukes, whereas judges themselves are unable to judge, except through the 
Spirit. Lastly, that famous judgment of Solomon, when, amongst the 
difficulties arising from those who were contending, as one, having overlain 
the child which she had borne, wished to claim the child of another, and the 
other was protecting her own son, he both discovered deceit in the very 
hidden thoughts, and affection in the mother's heart, was certainly so 
admirable only by the gift of the Holy Spirit For no other sword would 
have penetrated the hidden feeling of those women, except the sword of 
the Spirit, of which the Lord says: "I am not come to send peace but a 
sword." For the inmost mind cannot be penetrated by steel, but by the 
Spirit: "For the Spirit of understanding is holy, one only, manifold, subtle, 
lively," and, farther on, "overseeing all things." 

37. Consider what the prophet says, that He oversees all things. And so 
Solomon also oversaw, so that he ordered that sword to be brought, 
because while pretending that he intended to divide the infant, he reflected 
that the true mother would have more regard for her son than for her 



371 

comfort, and would set kindness before right, not right before kindness. 
But that she who feigned the feelings of a mother, blinded by the desire of 
gaining her end, would think little of the destruction of him in regard to 
whom she felt no outgoing of tenderness. And so that spiritual man, that 
he might judge all things (for he that is spiritual judgeth all things), sought 
in the feelings the natural disposition which was concealed in the language, 
and questioned tenderness that he might set forth the truth. So the mother 
overcame by the affection of love, which is a fruit of the Spirit. 

38. He judges in a prophet, for the word of wisdom is given by the Spirit; 
how, then, do men deny that the Spirit can rebuke the world concerning 
judgment, Who removes doubt from judgment, and grants the successful 
issue? 

39. Daniel also, unless he had received the Spirit of God, would never have 
been able to discover that lustful adultery, that fraudulent lie. For when 
Susanna, assailed by the conspiracy of the elders, saw that the mind of the 
people was moved by consideration for the old men, and destitute of all 
help, alone amongst men, conscious of her chastity she prayed God to 
judge; it is written: "The Lord heard her voice, when she was being led to 
be put to death, and the Lord raised up the Holy Spirit of a young youth, 
whose name was Daniel." And so according to the grace of the Holy Spirit 
received by him, he discovered the varying evidence of the treacherous, for 
it was none other than the operation of divine power, that his voice should 
make them whose inward feelings were concealed to be known. 

41. Understand, then, the sacred and heavenly miracle of the Holy Spirit 
She who preferred to be chaste in herself, rather than in the opinion of the 
people, she who preferred to hazard [the reputation of] her innocence, 
rather than her modesty, who when she was accused was silent, when she 
was condemned held her peace, content with the judgment of her own 
conscience, who preserved regard for her modesty even in peril, that they 
who were not able to force her chastity might not seem to have forced her 
to petulance; when she called upon the Lord, she obtained the Spirit, Who 
made known the hidden consciousness of the elders. 

42. Let the chaste learn not to dread calumny. For she who preferred 
chastity to life did not suffer the loss of life, and retained the glory of 



372 

chastity. So, too, Abraham, once bidden to go to foreign lands, and not 
being held back either by the danger to his wife's modesty, nor by the fear 
of death before him, preserved both his own life and his wife's chastity. So 
no one has ever repented of trusting God, and chastity increased devotion 
in Sarah, and devotion chastity. 

43. And lest any one should perhaps think that, as the Scripture says, 
"God raised up the Holy Spirit of a young youth," the Spirit in him was 
that of a man, not the Holy Spirit, let him read farther on, and he will find 
that Daniel received the Holy Spirit, and therefore prophesied. Lastly, too, 
the king advanced him because he had the grace of the Spirit For he speaks 
thus: "Thou, O Daniel, art able, forasmuch as the Holy Spirit of God is in 
thee." And farther on it is written: "And Daniel was set over them, 
because an excellent Spirit was in him." And the Spirit of Moses also was 
distributed to those who were to be judges. 



373 
CHAPTER 7 



The Son Himself does not judge or punish without the Spirit, so that 
the same Spirit is called the Sword of the Word. But inasmuch as the 
Word is in turn called the Sword of the Spirit, the highest unity of 
power is thereby recognized in each. 

4 4 . B ut what should we say of the other points? We have heard that the 
Lord Jesus not only judges in the Spirit but punishes also. For neither 
would He punish Antichrist, whom, as we read, "the Lord Jesus shall slay 
with the Spirit of His mouth," unless He had before judged of his deserts. 
Yet here is not a grace received, but the unity remains undivided, since 
neither can Christ be without the Spirit, nor the Spirit without Christ. For 
the unity of the divine nature cannot be divided. 

45. And since that instance comes before us. that the Lord Jesus shall slay 
with the Spirit of His mouth, the Spirit is understood to be as it were the 
Sword of the Word. Lastly, in the Gospel also the Lord Jesus Himself 
says: "I came not to send peace but a sword." For He came that He might 
give the Spirit; and so there is in His mouth a two-edged sword, which is in 
truth the grace of the Spirit So the Spirit is the Sword of the Word. 

46. And that you may know that there is no inequality but unity of nature, 
the Word also is the Sword of the Holy Spirit, for it is written: "Taking 
the shield of faith, wherewith ye may be able to quench all the fiery darts 
of the wicked one. And take the helmet of Salvation, and the sword of the 
Spirit, which is the Word of God." 

47. Since, then, the Sword of the Word is the Holy Spirit, and the Sword 
of the Holy Spirit is the Word of God, there is certainly in Them oneness 
of power. 



374 

CHAPTER 8 



The aforesaid unity is proved hereby, that as the Father is said to be 
grieved and tempted, so too the Son. The Son was also tempted in 
the wilderness, where a figure of the cross was set up in the brazen 
serpent: but the Apostle says that the Spirit also was there tempted. 
St. Ambrose infers from this that the Israelites were guided into the 
promised land by the same Spirit, and that His will and power are 
one with those of the Father and the Son. 

48. A nd we may behold this unity also in other passages of the Scriptures. 
For whereas Ezekiel says to the people of the Jews: "And thou hast 
grieved Me in all these things, saith the Lord;" Paul says to the new people 
in his Epistle: "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in Whom ye were 
sealed." Again, whereas Isaiah says of the Jews themselves: "But they 
believed not, but grieved the Holy Spirit;" David says of God: "They 
grieved the Most High in the desert, and tempted God in their hearts." 

49. Understand also that whereas Scripture in other places says that the 
Spirit was tempted, and that God was tempted, it says also that Christ 
was tempted; for you have the Apostle saying to the Corinthians: 
"Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them tempted, and perished by 
serpents." Just was the punishment that the adversaries should feel the 
venom, who had not venerated the Maker. 

50. And well did the Lord ordain that by the lifting up of the brazen 
serpent the wounds of those who were bitten should be healed; for the 
brazen serpent is a type of the Cross; for although in His flesh Christ was 
lifted up, yet in Him was the Apostle crucified to the world and the world 
to him; for he says: "The world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the 
world." "So the world was crucified in its allurements, and therefore not a 
real but a brazen serpent was hanged; because the Lord took on Him the 
likeness of a sinner, in the truth, indeed, of His Body, but without the 
truth of sin, that imitating a serpent through the deceitful appearance of 
human weakness, having laid aside the slough of the flesh, He might 
destroy the cunning of the true serpent. And therefore in the Cross of the 



375 

Lord, which came to man's help in avenging temptation, I, who accept the 
medicine of the Trinity, recognize in the wicked the offense against the 
Trinity. 

51. Therefore when you find in the book of Moses, that the Lord being 
tempted sent serpents on the people of the Jews, it is necessary that you 
either confess the Unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the Divine 
Majesty, or certainly when the writing of the Apostle says that the Spirit 
was tempted, it undoubtedly pointed out the Spirit by the name of Lord. 
But the Apostle writing to the Hebrews says that the Spirit was tempted, 
for you find this: "Wherefore the Holy Ghost saith this: Today if ye shall 
hear His voice, harden not your hearts, like as in the provocation in the 
day of temptation in the wilderness, where your fathers tempted Me, 
proved Me, and saw My works. Forty years was I near to this generation 
and said: They do alway err in their heart; but they did not know My 
ways, as I sware in My wrath, If they shall enter into My rest." 

52. Therefore, according to the Apostle, the Spirit was tempted. If He was 
tempted, He also certainly was guiding the people of the Jews into the 
land of promise, as it is written: "For He led them through the deep, as a 
horse through the wilderness, and they labored not, and like the cattle 
through the plain. The Spirit came down from the Lord and guided them." 
And He certainly ministered to them the calm rain of heavenly food, He 
with fertile shower made fruitful that daily harvest which earth had not 
brought forth, and husbandman had not sown. 

53. Now let us look at these points one by one. God had promised rest to 
the Jews; the Spirit calls that rest His. God the Father relates that He was 
tempted by the unbelieving, and the Spirit says that He was tempted by 
the same, for the temptation is one wherewith the one Godhead of the 
Trinity was tempted by the unbelieving. God condemns the people of the 
Jews, so that they cannot attain to the land flowing with milk and honey, 
that is, to the rest of the resurrection; and the Spirit condemns them by the 
same decree: "If they shall enter into My rest." It is, then, the decree of 
one Will, the excellency of one Power. 



376 
CHAPTER 9 



That the Holy Spirit is provoked is proved by the words of St. Peter, 
in which it is shown that the Spirit of God is one and the same as the 
Spirit of the Lord, both by other passages and by reference to the 
sentence of the same Apostle on Ananias and Sapphira, whence it is 
argued that the union of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the 
Son, as well as His own Godhead, is proved. 

54. Perhaps, however, some one might say that this passage cannot be 
specially applied to the Holy Spirit, had not the same Apostle Peter 
taught us in another place that the Holy Ghost can be tempted by our sins, 
for you find that the wife of Ananias is thus addressed: "Why have ye 
agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord?" For the Spirit of the Lord 
is the very Spirit of God; for there is one Holy Spirit, as also the Apostle 
Paul taught, saying: "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be 
that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit 
of Christ, he is none of His." He first mentioned the Spirit of God and 
immediately adds that the Same is the Spirit of Christ. And having spoken 
of the Spirit, that we might understand that where the Holy Spirit is there 
is Christ, he added: "But if Christ be in you." 

55. Then, in the same way as we here understand that where the Spirit is 
there also is Christ; so also, elsewhere, he shows that where Christ is, 
there also is the Holy Spirit. For having said: "Do ye seek a proof of 
Christ Who speaketh in me?" he says elsewhere: "For I think that I also 
have the Spirit of God." The Unity, then, is inseparable, for by the 
testimony of Scripture where either the Father or the Son or the Holy 
Spirit is designated, there is all the fullness of the Trinity. 

56. But Peter himself in the instance we have brought forward spoke first 
of the Holy Spirit, and then called Him the Spirit of the Lord, for you read 
as follows: "Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy 
Spirit, and to deal fraudulently concerning the price of the field? While it 
remained did it not continue thine own, and when sold was it not in thy 
power? Why hast thou conceived this wickedness in thy heart? Thou hast 



377 

not lied unto men but unto God." And below he says to the wife: "Why 
have ye agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord?" 

57. First, we understand that he called the Holy Spirit the Spirit of the 
Lord. Then, since he mentioned first the Holy Spirit and added: "Thou 
hast not lied unto men but unto God," you must necessarily either 
understand the oneness of the Godhead in the Holy Spirit, since when the 
Holy Spirit is tempted a lie is told to God; or, if you endeavor to exclude 
the oneness of the Godhead, you yourself according to the words of 
Scripture certainly believe Him to be God. 

58. For if we understand that these expressions are used both of the Spirit 
and of the Father, we certainly observe the unity of truth and knowledge in 
God the Father and the Holy Spirit, for falsehood is discovered alike by 
the Holy Spirit and by God the Father. But if we have received each truth 
concerning the Spirit, why do you, faithless man, attempt to deny what 
you read? Confess, then, either the oneness of the Godhead of the Father, 
of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, or the Godhead of the Holy Spirit. 
Whichever you say, you will have said each in God, for both the Unity 
upholds the Godhead and the Godhead the Unity. 



378 
CHAPTER 10 



The Divinity of the Holy Spirit is supported by a passage of St. John. 
This passage was, indeed, erased by heretics, but it is a vain attempt, 
since their faithlessness could thereby more easily be convicted, The 
order of the context is considered in order that this passage may be 
shown to refer to the Spirit. He is born of the Spirit who is born 
again of the same Spirit, of Whom Christ Himself is believed to have 
been born and born again. Again, the Godhead of the Spirit is 
inferred from two testimonies of St. John; and lastly, it is explained 
how the Spirit, the water, and the blood are called witnesses. 

59. N or does the Scripture in this place alone bear witness to the 9eoTT|<;, 
that is, the Godhead of the Holy Spirit; but also the Lord Himself said in 
the Gospel: "The Spirit is God." Which passage you, Arians, so expressly 
testify to be said concerning the Spirit, that you remove it from your 
copies, and would that it were from yours and not also from those of the 
Church! For at the time when Auxentius had seized the Church of Milan 
with the arms and forces of impious unbelief, the Church of Sirmium was 
attacked by Valens and Ursatius, when their priests [i.e. bishops] failed in 
faith; this falsehood and sacrilege of yours was found in the ecclesiastical 
books. And it may chance that you did the same in the past. 

60. And you have indeed been able to blot out the letters, but could not 
remove the faith. That erasure betrayed you more, that erasure condemned 
you more; and you were not able to obliterate the truth, but that erasure 
blotted out your names from the book of life. Why was the passage 
removed, "For God is a Spirit," if it did not pertain to the Spirit? For if 
you will have it that the expression is used of God the Father, you, who 
think it should be erased, deny, in consequence, God the Father. Choose 
which you will, in each the snare of your own impiety will bind you if you 
confess yourselves to be heathen by denying either the Father or the Spirit 
to be God. Therefore your confession wherein you have blotted out the 
Word of God remains, while you fear the original. 



379 

61. You have blotted it out, indeed, in your breasts and minds, but the 
Word of God is not blotted out, the Holy Spirit is not blotted out, but 
turns away from impious minds; not grace but iniquity is blotted out; for it 
is written: "I am He, I am He that blot out thine iniquities." Lastly, 
Moses, making request for the people, says: "Blot me out of Thy book, if 
Thou sparest not this people." And yet he was not blotted out, because he 
had no iniquity, but grace flowed forth. 

62. You are, then, convicted by your own confession that you cannot say 
it was done with wisdom but with cunning. For by cunning you know that 
you are convicted by the evidence of that passage, and that your 
arguments cannot apply against that testimony. For whence else could the 
meaning of that place be derived, since the whole tenor of the passage is 
concerning the Spirit? 

63. Nicodemus enquires about regeneration, and the Lord replies: "Verily, 
verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again by water and the Spirit, 
he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." And that He might show that 
there is one birth according to the flesh, and another according to the Spirit, 
He added: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, because it is born of 
the flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit, because the Spirit is 
God." Follow out the whole course of the passage, and you will find that 
God has shut out your impiety by the fullness of His statement: "Marvel 
not," says He, "that I said, Ye must be born again. The Spirit breatheth 
where He listeth, and thou hearest His voice, but knowest not whence He 
cometh or whither He goeth, so is every one who is born of the Spirit." 

64. Who is he who is born of the Spirit, and is made Spirit, but he who is 
renewed in the Spirit of his mind? This certainly is he who is regenerated 
by water and the Holy Spirit, since we receive the hope of eternal life 
through the layer of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. And 
elsewhere the Apostle Peter says: "Ye shall be baptized with the Holy 
Spirit." For who is he that is baptized with the Holy Spirit but he who is 
born again through water and the Holy Spirit? Therefore the Lord said of 
the Holy Spirit, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again 
by water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. And 
therefore He declared that we are born of Him in the latter case, through 



380 

Whom He said that we were born in the former. This is the sentence of the 
Lord; I rest on what is written, not on argument. 

65. 1 ask, however, why, if there be no doubt that we are born again by the 
Holy Spirit, there should be any doubt that we are born of the Holy Spirit, 
since the Lord Jesus Himself was both born and born again of the Holy 
Spirit. And if you confess that He was born of the Holy Spirit, because 
you are not able to deny it, but deny that He was born again, it is great 
folly to confess what is peculiar to God, and deny what is common to 
men. And therefore that is well said to you which was said to the Jews: "If 
I told you earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell 
you heavenly things?" 

66. And yet we find each passage so written in Greek, that He said not, 
through the Spirit, but of the Spirit. For it stands thus: ocjiriv, ajxriv, Xeyco 
goi, eocv ut| ti<; yevvr|0fi zt, vbaxoc, %oci ITve'6jj,ocTO<;, that is, of water 
and the Spirit. Therefore, since one ought not to doubt that "that which is 
born of the Spirit" is written of the Holy Spirit; there is no doubt but that 
the Holy Spirit also is God, according to that which is written, "the Spirit 
is God." 

67. But the same Evangelist, that he might make it plain that he wrote this 
concerning the Holy Spirit, says elsewhere: "Jesus Christ came by water 
and blood, not in the water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit 
beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth; for there are three witnesses, 
the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three are one." 

68. Hear how they are witnesses: The Spirit renews the mind, the water is 
serviceable for the layer, and the blood refers to the price. For the Spirit 
made us children by adoption, the water of the sacred Font washed us, the 
blood of the Lord redeemed us. So we obtain one invisible and one visible 
testimony in a spiritual sacrament, for "the Spirit Himself beareth witness 
to our spirit." Though the fullness of the sacrament be in each, yet there is 
a distinction of office; so where there is distinction of office, there 
certainly is not equality of witness. 



381 

CHAPTER 11 

The objection has been made, that the words of St. John, "The Spirit 
is God," are to be referred to God the Father; since Christ afterwards 
declares that God is to be worshipped in Spirit and in truth. The 
answer is, first, that by the word Spirit is sometimes meant spiritual 
grace; next, it is shown that, if they insist that the Person of the Holy 
Spirit is signified by the words "in Spirit," and therefore deny that 
adoration is due to Him, the argument tells equally against the Son; 
and since numberless passages prove that He is to be worshipped, we 
understand from this that the same rule is to be laid down as regards 
the Spirit. Why are we commanded to fall down before His footstool? 
Because by this is signified the Lord's Body, and as the Spirit was 
the Maker of this, it follows that He is to be worshipped, and yet it 
does not accordingly follow that Mary is to be worshipped. Therefore 
the worship of the Spirit is not done away with, but His union with 
the Father is expressed, when it is said that the Father is to be 
worshipped in Spirit, and this point is supported by similar 
expressions. 

69. B ut perhaps reference may be made to the fact that in a later passage 
of the same book, the Lord again said that God is Spirit, but spoke of God 
the Father. For you have this passage in the Gospel: "The hour now is, 
when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and truth, for 
such also doth the Father seek. God is Spirit, and they that worship Him 
must worship in Spirit and truth." By this passage you wish not only to 
deny the divinity of the Holy Spirit, but also, from God being worshipped 
in Spirit, deduce a subjection of the Spirit. 

70. To which point I will briefly answer that Spirit is often put for the 
grace of the Spirit, as the Apostle also said: "For the Spirit Himself 
intercedeth for us with groanings which cannot be uttered;" that is, the 
grace of the Spirit, unless perchance you have been able to hear the 
groanings of the Holy Spirit. Therefore here too God is worshipped, not in 
the wickedness of the heart, but in the grace of the Spirit. "For into a 
malicious soul wisdom does not enter," because "no one can call Jesus 



382 

Lord but in the Holy Spirit." And immediately he adds: "Now there are 
diversities of gifts." 

71. Now this cannot pertain to the fullness, nor to the dividing of the 
Spirit; for neither does the mind of man grasp His fullness, nor is He 
divided into any portions of Himself; but He pours into [the soul] the gift 
of spiritual grace, in which God is worshipped as He is also worshipped in 
truth, for no one worships Him except he who drinks in the truth of His 
Godhead with pious affection. And he certainly does not apprehend Christ 
as it were personally, nor the Holy Spirit personally. 

72. Or if you think that this is said as it were personally of Christ and of 
the Spirit, then God is worshipped in truth in like manner as He is 
worshipped in Spirit. There is therefore either a like subjection, which God 
forbid that you should believe, and the Son is not worshipped; or, which is 
true, there is a like grace of Unity, and the Spirit is worshipped. 

73. Let us then here draw our inferences and put an end to the impious 
questionings of the Arians. For if they say that the Spirit is therefore not 
to be worshipped because God is worshipped in Spirit, let them then say 
that the Truth is not to be worshipped, because God is worshipped in 
truth. For although there be many truths, since it is written: "Truths are 
minished from the sons of men;" yet they are given by the Divine Truth, 
which is Christ, Who says: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." If 
therefore they understand the truth in this passage from custom, let them 
also understand the grace of the Spirit, and there is no stumbling; or if they 
receive Christ as the Truth, let them deny that He is to be worshipped. 

74. But they are refuted by the acts of the pious, and by the course of the 
Scriptures. For Mary worshipped Christ, and therefore is appointed to be 
the messenger of the Resurrection to the apostles, loosening the hereditary 
bond, and the huge offense of womankind. For this the Lord wrought 
mystically, "that where sin had exceedingly abounded, grace might more 
exceedingly abound." And rightly is a woman appointed [as messenger] to 
men; that she who first had brought the message of sin to man should first 
bring the message of the grace of the Lord. 



383 

75. And the apostles worshipped; and therefore they who bore the 
testimony of the faith received authority as to the faith. And the angels 
worshipped, of whom it is written: "And let all His angels worship Him." 

76. But they worship not only His Godhead but also His Footstool, as it 
is written: "And worship His footstool, for it is holy," Or if they deny 
that in Christ the mysteries also of His Incarnation are to be worshipped, 
in which we observe as it were certain express traces of His Godhead, and 
certain ways of the Heavenly Word; let them read that even the apostles 
worshipped Him when He rose again in the glory of His Flesh. 

77. Therefore if it do not at all detract from Christ, that God is 
worshipped in Christ, for Christ too is worshipped; it certainly also 
detracts nothing from the Spirit that God is worshipped in the Spirit, for 
the Spirit also is worshipped, as the Apostle has said: "We serve the Spirit 
of God," for he who serves worships also, as it is said in an earlier passage: 
"Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve." 

78. But lest any one should perchance seem to elude the instance we have 
adduced, let us consider in what manner that which the prophet says, 
"Worship His Footstool," appears to refer to the mystery of the divine 
Incarnation, for we must not estimate the footstool from the custom of 
men. For neither has God a body, neither is He other than beyond 
measure, that we should think a footstool was laid down as a support for 
His feet. And we read that nothing besides God is to be worshipped, for it 
is written: "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt 
thou serve." How, then, should the prophet, brought up under the Law, 
and instructed in the Law, give a precept against the Law? The question, 
then, is not unimportant, and so let us more diligently consider what the 
footstool is. For we read elsewhere: "The heaven is My throne, and the 
earth the footstool of My feet." But the earth is not to be worshipped by 
us, for it is a creature of God. 

79. Let us, however, see whether the prophet does not say that that earth 
is to be worshipped which the Lord Jesus took upon Him in assuming 
flesh. And so, by foot-stool is understood earth, but by the earth the Flesh 
of Christ, which we this day also adore in the mysteries, and which the 
apostles, as we said above, adored in the Lord Jesus; for Christ is not 



384 

divided but is one; nor, when He is adored as the Son of God, is He denied 
to have been born of the Virgin. Since, then, the mystery of the Incarnation 
is to be adored, and the Incarnation is the work of the Spirit, as it is 
written, "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the 
Most High shall overshadow thee, and that Holy Thing Which shall be 
born of thee shall be called the Son of God," without doubt the Holy Spirit 
also is to be adored, since He Who according to the flesh was born of the 
Holy Spirit is adored. 

80. And let no one divert this to the Virgin Mary; Mary was the temple of 
God, not the God of the temple. And therefore He alone is to be 
worshipped Who was working in His temple. 

81. It makes, then, nothing against our argument that God is worshipped in 
Spirit, for the Spirit also is worshipped. Although if we consider the 
words themselves, what else ought we to understand in the Father, the 
Son, and the Holy Spirit, but the unity of the same power. For what is 
"must worship in Spirit and in truth"? If, however, you do not refer this to 
the grace of the Spirit, nor the true faith of conscience; but, as we said, 
personally (if indeed this word person is fit to express the Divine 
Majesty), you must take it of Christ and of the Spirit. 

82. What means, then, the Father is worshipped in Christ, except that the 
Father is in Christ, and the Father speaks in Christ, and the Father abides 
in Christ. Not, indeed, as a body in a body, for God is not a body; nor as a 
confused mixture [confusus in confuso], but as the true in the true, God in 
God, Light in Light; as the eternal Father in the co-eternal Son. So not an 
ingrafting of a body is meant, but unity of power. Therefore, by unity of 
power, Christ is jointly worshipped in the Father when God the Father is 
worshipped in Christ. In like manner, then, by unity of the same power 
the Spirit is jointly worshipped in God, when God is worshipped in the 
Spirit. 

83. Let us investigate the force of that word and expression more 
diligently, and deduce its proper meaning from other passages. "Thou 
hast," it is said, "made them all in wisdom." Do we here understand that 
Wisdom was without a share in the things that were made? But "all things 
were made by Him." And David says: "By the Word of the Lord were the 



385 

heavens established." So, then, he himself who calls the Son of God the 
maker even of heavenly things, has also plainly said that all things were 
made in the Son, that in the renewal of His works He might by no means 
separate the Son from the Father, but unite Him to the Father. 

84. Paul, too, says: "For in Him were all things created in the heavens and 
in the earth, Visible and invisible." Does he, then, when he says, "in Him," 
deny that they were made through Him? Certainly he did not deny but 
affirmed it. And further he says in another place: "One Lord Jesus, 
through Whom are all things." In saying, then, "through Him," has he 
denied that all things were made in Him, through Whom he says that all 
things exist? These words, "in Him" and "with Him," have this force, that 
by them is understood one and like in all respects, not contrary. Which he 
also made clear farther on, saying: "All things have been created through 
Him and in Him;" for, as we said above, Scripture witnesses that these 
three expressions, "with Him," and "through Him," and "in Him," are 
equivalent in Christ. For you read that all things were made through Him 
and in Him. 

85. Learn also that the Father was with Him, and He with the Father, 
when all things were being made. Wisdom says: "When He was preparing 
the heavens I was with Him, when He was making the fountains of 
waters." And in the Old Testament the Father, by saying, "Let Us make," 
showed that the Son was to be worshipped with Himself as the Maker of 
all things. As, then, those things are said to have been created in the Son, of 
which the Son is received as the Creator; so, too, when God is said to be 
worshipped in truth by the proper meaning of the word itself often 
expressed after the same manner it ought to be understood, that the Son 
too is worshipped. So in like manner is the Spirit also worshipped because 
God is worshipped in Spirit, Therefore the Father is worshipped both 
with the Son and with the Spirit, because the Trinity is worshipped. 



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From the fact that St. Paul has shown that the light of the Godhead 
which the three apostles worshipped in Christ is in the Trinity, it is 
made clear that the Spirit also is to be worshipped. It is shown from 
the words themselves that the Spirit is intended by the apostles. The 
Godhead of the same Spirit is proved from the fact that He has a 
temple wherein He dwells not as a priest, but as God: and is 
worshipped with the Father and the Son; whence is understood the 
oneness of nature in Them. 

86 . B ut does any one deny that the Godhead of the eternal Trinity is to be 
worshipped? whereas the Scriptures also express the inexplicable Majesty 
of the Divine Trinity, as the Apostle says elsewhere: "Since God, Who 
said that light should shine out of darkness, shined in our hearts to give the 
light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 

87. The apostles truly saw this glory, when the Lord Jesus on the mount 
shone with the light of His Godhead: "The apostles," it says, "saw it and 
fell on their face." Do not you think that they even, as they fell, 
worshipped, when they could not with their bodily eyes endure the 
brightness of the divine splendor, and the glory of eternal light dulled the 
keenness of mortal sight? Or what else did they who saw His glory say at 
that time, except, "O come let us worship and fall down before Him"? For 
"God shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of 
God in the face of Jesus Christ." 

88. Who is He, then, Who shined that we might know God in the face of 
Jesus Christ? For he said, "God shined," that the glory of God might be 
known in the face of Jesus Christ. Whom else do we think but the 
manifested Spirit? Or who else is there besides the Holy Spirit to Whom 
the power of the Godhead may be referred? For they who exclude the 
Spirit must necessarily bring in another, who may with the Father and the 
Son receive the glory of the Godhead. 

89. Let us then go back to the same words: "It is God Who shined in our 
hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of 



387 

Jesus Christ." You have Christ plainly set forth. For Whose glory is said 
to give light but that of the Spirit? So, then, he set forth God Himself, 
since he spoke of the glory of God; if of the Father, it remains that "He 
who said that light should shine out of darkness, and shine in our hearts," 
be understood to be the Holy Spirit, for we cannot venerate any other with 
the Father and the Son. If, then, you understand the Spirit, Him also has 
the Apostle called God; it is necessary, then, that you also confess the 
Godhead of the Spirit, who now deny it. 

90. But how shamelessly do you deny this, since you have read that the 
Holy Spirit has a temple. For it is written: "Ye are the temple of God, and 
the Holy Spirit dwelleth in you." Now God has a temple, a creature has no 
true temple. But the Spirit, Who dwelleth in us, has a temple. For it is 
written: "Your members are temples of the Holy Spirit." 

91. But He does not dwell in the temple as a priest, nor as a minister, but 
as God, since the Lord Jesus Himself said: "I will dwell in them, and will 
walk among them, and will be their God, and they shall be My people." 
And David says: "The Lord is in His holy temple." Therefore the Spirit 
dwells in His holy temple, as the Father dwells and as the Son dwells, 
Who says: "I and the Father will come, and will make Our abode with 
him." 

92. But the Father abides in us through the Spirit, Whom He has given us. 
How, then, can different natures abide together? Certainly it is impossible. 
But the Spirit abides with the Father and the Son. Whence, too, the 
Apostle joined the Communion of the Holy Spirit with the grace of Jesus 
Christ and the love of God, saying: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
and the love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit be with you 
all." 

91. We observe, then, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit abide in 
one and the same [subject] through the oneness of the same nature. 
Therefore, He Who dwells in the temple has divine power, for as of the 
Father and of the Son, so are we also the temple of the Holy Spirit; not 
many temples, but one temple, for it is the temple of one Power. 



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To those who object that Catholics, when they ascribe Godhead to 
the Holy Spirit, introduce three Gods, it is answered, that by the 
same argument they themselves bring in two Gods, unless they deny 
Godhead to the Son; after which the orthodox doctrine is set forth. 

92. B ut what do you fear? Is it that which you have been accustomed to 
carp at? lest you should make three Gods. God forbid; for where the 
Godhead is understood as one, one God is spoken of. For neither when we 
call the Son God do we say there are two Gods. For if, when you confess 
the Godhead of the Spirit, you think that three Gods are spoken of, then, 
too, when you speak of the Godhead of the Son because you are not able 
to deny it, you bring in two Gods. For it is necessary according to your 
opinion, if you think that God is the name of one person, not of one 
nature, that you either say that there are two Gods, or deny that the Son is 
God. 

93. But let us free you from the charge of ignorance, though we do not 
excuse you from fault For according to our opinion, because there is one 
God, one Godhead and oneness of power is understood. For as we say 
that there is one God, confessing the Father, and not denying the Son 
under the true Name of the Godhead; so, too, we exclude not the Holy 
Spirit from the Unity of the Godhead, and do not assert but deny that 
there are three Gods, because it is not unity but a division of power which 
makes plurality. For how can the Unity of the Godhead admit of plurality, 
seeing that plurality is of numbers, but the Divine Nature does not admit 
numbers? 



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Besides the evidence adduced above, other passages can be brought to 
prove the sovereignty of the Three Persons. Two are quoted from the 
Epistles to the Thessalonians, and by collating other testimonies of 
the Scriptures it is shown that in them dominion is claimed for the 
Spirit as for the other Persons. Then, by quotation of another still 
more express passage in the second Epistle to the Corinthians, it is 
inferred both that the Spirit is Lord, and that where the Lord is, 
there is the Spirit. 

94. G od, then, is One, without violation of the majesty of the eternal 
Trinity, as is declared in the instance set before us. And not in that place 
alone do we see the Trinity expressed in the Name of the Godhead; but 
both in many places, as we have said also above, and especially in the 
epistles which the Apostle wrote to the Thessalonians, he most clearly set 
forth the Godhead and sovereignty of the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Spirit. For you read as follows: "The Lord make you to increase and 
abound In love one toward another, and toward all men, as we also do 
toward you, to the stablishing of your hearts without blame in holiness 
before God and our Father at the coming of the Lord Jesus." 

95. Who, then, is the Lord Who makes us to increase and abound before 
God and our Father at the coming of the Lord Jesus? He has named the 
Father and has named the Son; Whom, then, has he joined with the Father 
and the Son except the Spirit? Who is the Lord Who establishes our hearts 
in holiness. For holiness is a grace of the Spirit, as, too, is said farther on: 
"In holiness of the Spirit and belief of the truth." 

96. Who, then, do you think is here named Lord, except the Spirit? And 
has not God the Father been able to teach you, Who says: "Upon 
Whomsoever thou shalt see the Spirit descending and abiding upon Him, 
this is He Who baptizeth in the Holy Spirit"? For the Spirit descended in 
the likeness of a dove, that He might both bear witness to His wisdom, and 
perfect the sacrament of the spiritual layer, and show that His working is 
one with that of the Father and the Son. 



390 

97. And that you should not suppose that anything had fallen from the 
Apostle by oversight, but that he knowingly and designedly and inspired 
by the Spirit designated Him Lord, Whom he felt to be God, he repeated 
the same in the second Epistle to the Thessalonians, saying: "But the Lord 
direct your hearts in the love of God and in the patience of Christ." If love 
be of God and patience of Christ, it ought to be shown Who is the Lord 
Who directs, if we deny that the direction is of the Holy Spirit. 

98. But we cannot deny it, since the Lord said of Him: "I have yet many 
things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. But when He, the 
Spirit of Truth, shall come, He will lead you into all truth." And David 
says of Him: "Thy good Spirit shall lead me into the right way." 

99. See what the voice of the Lord uttered concerning the Holy Spirit. The 
Son of God came, and because He had not yet shed forth the Spirit, He 
declared that we were living like little children without the Spirit. He said 
that the Spirit was to come Who should make of these little children 
stronger men, by an increase, namely, of spiritual age. And this He laid 
down not that He might set the power of the Spirit in the first place, but 
that He might show that the fullness of strength consists in the knowledge 
of the Trinity. 

100. It is therefore necessary either that you mention some fourth person 
besides the Spirit of whom you ought to be conscious, or assuredly that 
you do not consider another to be Lord, except the Spirit Who has been 
pointed out. 

101. But if you require the plain statement of the words in which Scripture 
has spoken of the Spirit as Lord, it cannot have escaped you that it is 
written: "Now the Lord is the Spirit." Which the course of the whole 
passage shows to have been certainly said of the Holy Spirit. And so let us 
consider the apostolic statement: "As often as Moses is read," says he, "a 
veil is laid over their heart; but when they shall be turned to the Lord, the 
veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; but where the Spirit 
of the Lord is, there is liberty." 

102. So he not only called the Spirit Lord, but also added: "But where the 
Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. So we all with unveiled face, reflecting 
the glory of the Lord, are formed anew into the same image from glory to 



391 

glory, as from the Lord the Spirit;" that is, we who have been before 
converted to the Lord, so as by spiritual understanding to see the glory of 
the Lord, as it were, in the minor of the Scriptures, are now being 
transformed from that glory which converted us to the Lord, to the 
heavenly glory. Therefore since it is L the Lord to Whom we are 
converted, but the Lord is that Spirit by Whom we are formed anew, who 
are converted to the Lord, assuredly the Holy Ghost is pointed out, for He 
Who forms anew receives those who are converted. For how should He 
form again those whom He had not received. 

103. Though why should we seek for the expression of words, where we 
see the expression of unity? For although you may distinguish between 
Lord and Spirit, you cannot deny that where the Lord is, there too is the 
Spirit, and he who has been converted to the Lord will have been converted 
to the Spirit. If you cavil at the letter, you cannot injure the Unity; if you 
wish to separate the Unity, you confess the Spirit Himself as the Lord of 
power. 



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CHAPTER 15 

Though the Spirit be called Lord, three Lords are not thereby 
implied; inasmuch as two Lords are not implied by the fact that the 
Son in the same manner as the Father is called Lord in many 
passages of Scripture; for Lordship exists in the Godhead, and the 
Godhead in Lordship, and these coincide without division in the 
Three Persons. 

1 04 . B ut perhaps, again, you may say: If I call the Spirit Lord, I shall set 
forth three Lords. Do you then when you call the Son Lord either deny the 
Son or confess two Lords? God forbid, for the Son Himself said: "Do not 
serve two lords." But certainly He denied not either Himself or the Father 
to be Lord; for He called the Father Lord, as you read: "I thank Thee, O 
Father, Lord of heaven and earth." And the Lord spoke of Himself, as we 
read in the Gospel: "Ye call Me Master and Lord, and ye do well, for so I 
am." But He spoke not of two Lords; indeed He shows that He did not 
speak of two Lords, when He warns them: "Do not serve two lords." For 
there are not two Lords where the Lordship is but one, for the Father is in 
the Son and the Son in the Father, and so there is one Lord. 

105. Such, too, was the teaching of the Law: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy 
God is one Lord," that is, unchangeable, always abiding in unity of power, 
always the same, and not altered by any accession or diminution. 
Therefore Moses called Him One, and yet also relates that the Lord rained 
down fire from the Lord. The Apostle, too, says: "The Lord grant unto 
him to find mercy of the Lord." The Lord rains down from the Lord; the 
Lord grants mercy from the Lord. The Lord is neither divided when He 
rains from the Lord, nor is there a separation when He grants mercy from 
the Lord, but in each case the oneness of the Lordship is expressed. 

106. In the Psalms, too, you find: "The Lord said unto my Lord." And he 
did not therefore deny that the Father was his Lord, because he spoke of 
the Son as his Lord; but therefore called the Son his Lord, that you might 
not think Him to be the Son, but the Lord of the prophet, as the Lord 
Himself showed in the Gospel, when He said: "If David in the Spirit called 
Him Lord, how is he his Son?" David, not the Spirit, calls Him Lord in the 



393 

Spirit. Or if they falsely infer from this that the Spirit called Him Lord, 
they must necessarily by a like sacrilege seem to assert that the Son of 
God is also the Son of the Spirit. 

107. So, as we do not say that there are two Lords, when we so style both 
the Father and the Son, so, too, we do not say that there are three Lords, 
when we confess the Spirit to be Lord. For as it is profane to say that 
there are three Lords or three Gods, so, too, is it utter profanity to speak 
of two Lords or two Gods; for there is one God, one Lord, one Holy 
Spirit; and He Who is God is Lord, and He Who is Lord is God, for the 
Godhead is in the Lordship, and the Lordship is in the Godhead. 

108. Lastly, you have read that the Father is both Lord and God: "O Lord 
my God, I will call upon Thee, hear Thou me." You find the Son to be 
both Lord and God, as you have read in the Gospel, that, when Thomas 
had touched the side of Christ, he said, "My Lord and my God." So in like 
manner as the Father is God and the Son Lord, so too the Son is God and 
the Father Lord. The holy designation changes from one to the other, the 
divine nature changes not, but the dignity remains unchangeable. For they 
are not [as it were] contributions gathered from bounty, but free-will gifts 
of natural love; for both Unity has its special property, and the special 
properties are bound together in unity. 



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The Father is holy, and likewise the Son and the Spirit, and so They 
are honored in the same Trisagion: nor can we speak more worthily 
of God than by calling Him Holy; whence it is clear that we must not 
derogate from the dignity of the Holy Spirit. In Him is all which 
pertains to God, since in baptism He is named with the Father and 
the Son, and the Father has given to Him to be greater than all, nor 
can any one deprive Him of this. And so from the very passage of St. 
John which heretics used against His dignity, the equality of the 
Trinity and the Unity of the Godhead is established. Lastly, after 
explaining how the Son receives from the Father, St. Ambrose shows 
how various heresies are refuted by the passage cited. 

109. So, then, the Father is holy, the Son is holy, and the Spirit is holy, 
but they are not three Holies; for there is one Holy God, one Lord. For the 
true holiness is one, as the true Godhead is one, as that true holiness 
belonging to the Divine Nature is one. 

1 10. So everything which we esteem holy proclaims that Sole Holiness. 
Cherubim and Seraphim with unwearied voices praise Him and say: 
"Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God of Sabaoth." They say it, not once, 
lest you should believe that there is but one; not twice, lest you should 
exclude the Spirit; they say not holies [in the plural], lest you should 
imagine that there is plurality, but they repeat thrice and say the same 
word, that even in a hymn you may understand the distinction of Persons 
in the Trinity, and the oneness of the Godhead and while they say this 
they proclaim God. 

111. We too find nothing of more worth, whereby we are able to proclaim 
God, than the calling Him holy. Everything is too low for God, too low for 
the Lord. And therefore consider from this fact also whether one ought at 
all to derogate from the Holy Spirit, whose Name is the praise of God. For 
thus is the Father praised, thus is the Son also praised, in the same manner 
as the Spirit also is named and praised. The Seraphim utter praise, the 



395 

whole company of the blessed utter praise, inasmuch as they call God 
holy, the Son holy, the Spirit holy. 

112. How, then, does He not possess all that pertains to God, Who is 
named by priests in baptism with the Father and the Son, and is invoked in 
the oblations, is proclaimed by the Seraphim in heaven with the Father and 
the Son, dwells in the Saints with the Father and the Son, is poured upon 
the just, is given as the source of inspiration to the prophets? And for this 
reason in the divine Scripture all is called because God inspires what the 
Spirit has spoken. 

1 13. Or if they are unwilling to allow that the Holy Spirit has all things 
which pertain to God, and can do all things, let them say what He has not, 
and what He cannot do. For like as the Son has all things, and the Father 
grudges not to give all things to the Son according to His nature, having 
given to Him that which is greater than all, as the Scripture bears witness, 
saying: "That which My Father hath given unto Me is greater than all." So 
too the Spirit has of Christ that which is greater than all, because 
righteousness knows not grudging. 

1 14. So, then, if we attend diligently, we comprehend here also the oneness 
of the Divine Power. He says: "That which My Father hath given unto 
Me is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of My 
Father's hand. I and the Father are One." For if we rightly showed above 
that the Holy Spirit is the Hand of the Father, the same is certainly the 
Hand of the Father which is the Hand of the Son, since the Same is the 
Spirit of the Father Who is the Spirit of the Son. Therefore whosoever of 
us receives eternal life in this Name of the Trinity, as he is not torn from 
the Father; so he is not torn from the Son, so too he is not torn from the 
Spirit. 

115. Again, from the very fact that the Father is said to have given to the 
Son, and the Spirit to have received from the Son, as it is written: "He shall 
glorify Me, for He shall take of Mine, and shall declare it unto you"(which 
He seems to have said rather of the office of distributing, than of the 
prerogative of Divine Power, for those whom the Son redeemed the Spirit 
also, Who was to sanctify them, received), from those very words, I say, 



396 

from which they construct their sophistry, the Unity of the Godhead is 
perceived, not the need of a gift. 

1 16. The Father gave by begetting, not by adoption; He gave as it were 
that which was contained in the very prerogative of the Divine Nature, not 
what was lacking as it were by favor of His bounty. And so because the 
Son acquires persons to Himself as the Father does; so gives life as does 
the Father, He expressed His equality with the Father in the Unity of 
Power, saying: "I and the Father are One." For when He says, "I and the 
Father," equality is revealed; when He says, "are One," Unity is asserted. 
Equality excludes confusion; Unity excludes separation. Equality 
distinguishes between the Father and the Son; Unity does not separate the 
Father and the Son. 

117. Therefore, when He says, "I and the Father," He rejects the Sabellian, 
for He says that He is one, the Father another; He rejects the Photinian, 
for He joins Himself with God the Father. With the former words He 
rejects those, for He said: "I and the Father;" with the latter words He 
rejects the Arians, for He says: "are One." Yet in both the former and the 
latter words He refutes the heretical violence of the Sabellians, for He said: 
"We are One [Substance]," not "We are One [Person]." And of the Arians, 
for He said: "I and the Father," not "the Father and I." Which was 
certainly not a sign of rudeness, but of dutifulness and foreknowledge, that 
we might not think wrongly from the order of the words, For unity knows 
no order equality knows no gradation; nor can it be laid to the Son of God 
that the Teacher Himself of dutifulness should offend against dutifulness 
by rudeness. 



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St. Ambrose shows by instances that the places in which those words 
were spoken help to the understanding of the words of the Lord; he 
shows that Christ uttered the passage quoted from St. John in 
Solomon's porch, by which is signified the mind of a wise man, for 
he says that Christ would not have uttered this saying in the heart of 
a foolish or contentious man. He goes on to say that Christ is stoned 
by those who believe not these words, and as the keys of heaven were 
given to Peter for his confession of them, so Iscariot, because he 
believed not the same, perished evilly. He takes this opportunity to 
inveigh against the Jews who bought the Son of God and sold Joseph. 
He explains the price paid for each mystically; and having in the 
same manner expounded the murmuring of the traitor concerning 
Magdalene's ointment, he adds that Christ is bought in one way by 
heretics in another way by Catholics, and that those in vain take to 
themselves the name of Christians who sever the Spirit from the 
Father. 

118. It is worth while to notice in what place the Lord held this discussion, 
for His utterances are often [better] estimated by the kind of places in 
which He conversed. When about to fast, He is led(as we read) into the 
wilderness to render vain the devil's temptations. For although it deserves 
praise to have lived temperately in the midst of abundance, yet the 
enticements of temptation are more frequent amongst riches and pleasures. 
Then the tempter, in order to try Him, promises Him abundance, and the 
Lord in order to overcome cherishes hunger. Now I do not deny that 
temperance can exist in the midst of riches; but although he who navigates 
the sea often escapes, yet he is more exposed to peril than he who will not 
go to sea. 

119. Let us consider some other points. When about to promise the 
kingdom of heaven, Jesus went up into a mountain. At another time He 
leads His disciples through the corn-fields, when about to sow in their 
minds the crop of heavenly precepts, so that a plentiful harvest of souls 
should ripen. When about to consummate the work of the flesh which He 



398 

had taken, having now seen perfection in His disciples, whom He had 
established upon the root of His words, He enters a garden, that He might 
plant the young olive-trees in the house of the Lord, and that He might 
water the just flourishing like a palm-tree, and the fruitful vine with the 
stream of His Blood. 

120. In this passage too He was walking, as we read, in Solomon's porch 
on the day' of the dedication, that is, Christ was walking in the breast of 
the wise and prudent, to dedicate his good affection to Himself. What that 
porch was the prophet teaches, saying: "I will walk in the midst of Thy 
house in the innocency of my heart." So, then, we have in our own selves 
the house of God, we have the halls, we have also the porches, and we 
have the cents, for it is written: "Let thy waters flow abroad in thy 
courts." Open, then, this porch of thy heart to the Word of God, Who 
says to thee: "Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it." 

121. Let us, therefore, hear what the Word of God, walking in the heart of 
the wise and peaceful, says: "I and My Father are One." He will not say 
this in the 'breast of the unquiet and foolish, for "the natural man receiveth 
not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him." The 
narrow breasts of sinners do not take in the greatness of the faith. Lastly, 
the Jews hearing, "I and the Father are One, took up stones to stone Him." 

122. He who cannot listen to this is a Jew; he who cannot listen to this 
stones Christ with the stones of his treachery, rougher than any rock, and 
if you believe me, he wounds Christ. For although He cannot now feel a 
wound: "For now henceforth we know not Christ after the flesh," yet He 
Who rejoices in the love of the Church is stoned by the impiety of the 
Arians. 

123. "The law of Thy mouth, O Lord, is good unto me, I keep Thy 
commandments." Thou hast Thyself said that Thou art one with the 
Father. Because Peter believed this, he received the keys of the kingdom of 
heaven, and without anxiety for himself forgave sins. Judas, because he 
believed not this, strangled himself with the cord of his own wickedness. O 
the hard stones of unbelieving words! O the unseemly cord of the betrayer, 
and the still more hideous purchase-money of the Jews! O hateful money 
wherewith either the just is bought for death, or sold! Joseph was sold, 



399 

Jesus Christ was bought, the one to slavery, the Other to death. O 
detestable inheritance, O deadly sale, which either sells a brother to 
suffering or sets a price on the Lord to destroy Him, the Purchaser of the 
salvation of all. 

124. The Jews did violence to two things which are chief of all, faith and 
duty, and in each to Christ the Author of faith and duty. For both in the 
patriarch Joseph was there a type of Christ, and Christ Himself came in 
the truth of His Body, "Who counted it not robbery that He should be 
equal with God, but took on Him the form of a servant," because of our 
fall, that is to say, taking slavery upon Himself and not shrinking from 
suffering. 

125. In one place the sale is for twenty pieces, in the other for thirty. For 
how could His true price be apprehended, Whose value cannot be limited? 
There is error in the price because there is error in the inquiry. The sale is 
for twenty pieces in the Old Testament, for thirty in the New; for the 
Truth is of more value than the type, Grace is more generous than training, 
the Presence is better than the Law, for the Law promised the Coming, the 
Coming fulfilled the Law. 

126. The Ishmaelites made their purchase for twenty pieces, the Jews for 
thirty. And this is no trivial figure. The faithless are more lavish for 
iniquity than the faithful for salvation. It is, however, fitting to consider 
the quality of each agreement. Twenty pieces are the price of him sold to 
slavery, thirty pieces of Him delivered to the Cross. For although the 
Mysteries of the Incarnation and of the Passion must be in like manner 
matters of amazement, yet the fulfillment of faith is in the Mystery of the 
Passion. I do not indeed value less the birth from the holy Virgin, but I 
receive even more gratefully the Mystery of the sacred Body. What is 
more full of mercy than that He should forgive me the wrongs done to 
Himself? But it is even fuller measure that He gave us so great a gift, that 
He Who was not to die because He was God, should die by our death, that 
we might live by His Spirit. 

127. Lastly, it was not without meaning that Judas Iscariot valued that 
ointment at three hundred pence, which seems certainly by the statement 
of the price itself to set forth the Lord's cross. Whence, too, the Lord 



400 

says: "For she, pouring this ointment on My body, did it for My burial." 
Why, then, did Judas value this at so high a rate? Because remission of sins 
is of more value to sinners, and forgiveness seems to be more precious. 
Lastly, you find it written: "To whom much is forgiven the same loveth 
more." r Therefore sinners themselves also confess the grace of the Lord's 
Passion which they have lost, and they bear witness to Christ who 
persecuted Him. 

128. Or because, "into a malicious soul wisdom does not enter," the evil 
disposition of the traitor uttered this and he valued the suffering of the 
Lord's body at a dearer rate, that by the immensity of the price he might 
draw all away from the faith. And therefore the Lord offered Himself 
without price, that the necessity of poverty might hold no one hack from 
Christ. The patriarchs sold Him for a small price that all might buy. Isaiah 
said: "Ye that have no money go buy and drink; eat ye without money," 
that he might gain him who had no money. O traitor Judas, thou valuest 
the ointment of His Passion at three hundred pence, and sellest His 
Passion for thirty pence. Profuse in valuing, mean in selling. 

129. So, then, all do not buy Christ at the same price; Photinus, who buys 
Him for death, buys Him at one price; the Arian, who buys Him to wrong 
Him, at another price; the Catholic, who buys Him to glorify Him, at 
another. But he buys Him without money according to that which is 
written: "He that hath no money let him buy without price." 

130. "Not all," says Christ, "that say unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into 
the kingdom of heaven!" Although many call themselves Christians, and 
make use of the name, yet not all shall receive the reward. Both Cain 
offered sacrifice, and Judas received the kiss, but it was said to him, 
"Judas, betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?" that is, thou fillest up 
thy wickedness with the pledge of affection, and sowest hatred with the 
implement of peace, and inflictest death with the outward token of love. 

131. Let not, then, the Arians flatter themselves with the employment of 
the name, because they call themselves Christians. The Lord will answer 
them: You set forward My Name, and deny My Substance, but I do not 
recognize My Name where My eternal Godhead is not. That is not My 
Name which is divided from the Father, and separated from the Spirit; I do 



401 

not recognize My Name where I do not recognize My doctrine; I do not 
recognize My Name where I do not recognize My Spirit. For he knows 
not that he is comparing the Spirit of the Father to those servants whom 
He created. Concerning which point we have already spoken at length. 



402 

CHAPTER 18 



As he purposes to establish the Godhead of the Holy Spirit by the 
points already discussed, St. Ambrose touches again on some of 
them; for instance, that He does not commit but forgives sin; that He 
is not a creature but the Creator; and lastly, that He does not offer 
but receives worship. 

132. B ut to sum up, in order at the end more distinctly to gather up the 
arguments which have been used here and there, the evident glory of the 
Godhead is proved both by other arguments, and most especially by these 
four. God is known by these marks: either that He is without sin; or that 
He forgives sin; or that He is not a creature but the Creator; or that He 
does not give but receives worship. 

133. So, then, no one is without sin except God alone, for no one is 
without sin except God. Also, no one forgives sins except God alone, for it 
is also written: "Who can forgive sins but God alone?" And one cannot be 
the Creator of all except he be not a creature, and he who is not a creature 
is without doubt God; for it is written: "They worshipped the creature 
rather than the Creator, Who is God blessed for ever." God also does not 
worship, but is worshipped, for it is written: "Thou shalt worship the 
Lord thy God, and Him only shall thou serve." 

134. Let us therefore consider whether the Holy Spirit have any of these 
marks which may bear witness to His Godhead. And first let us treat of 
the point that none is without sin except God alone, and demand that they 
prove that the Holy Spirit has sin. 

135. But they are unable to show us this, and demand our authority from 
us, namely, that we should show by texts that the Holy Spirit has not 
sinned, as it is said of the Son that He did no sin. Let them learn that we 
teach by authority of the Scriptures; for it is written: "For in Wisdom is a 
Spirit of understanding, holy, one only, manifold, subtle, easy to move, 
eloquent, undefiled." The Scripture says He is undefiled, has it lied 
concerning the Son, that you should believe it to have lied concerning the 
Spirit? For the prophet said in the same place concerning Wisdom, that 



403 

nothing that defiles enters into her. She herself is undefiled, and her Spirit 
is undefiled. Therefore if the Spirit have not sin, He is God. 

136. But how can He be guilty of sin Who Himself forgives sins? 
Therefore He has not committed sin, and if He be without sin He is not a 
creature. For every creature is exposed to the capability of sin, and the 
eternal Godhead alone is free from sin and undefiled. 

137. Let us now see whether the Spirit forgives sins. But on this point 
there can be no doubt, since the Lord Himself said: "Receive ye the Holy 
Spirit. Whosesoever sins ye forgive they shall be forgiven." See that sins 
are forgiven through the Holy Spirit. But men make use of their ministry 
for the forgiveness of sins, they do not exercise the right of any power of 
their own. For they forgive sins not in their own name but in that of the 
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. They ask, the Godhead gives, 
the service is of man, the gift is of the Power on high. 

138. And it is not doubtful that sin is forgiven by means of baptism, but in 
baptism the operation is that of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy 
Spirit. If, therefore, the Spirit forgives sin, since it is written, "Who can 
forgive sins except God alone? certainly He Who cannot be separated from 
the oneness of the name of the Nature is also incapable of being severed 
from the power of God. Now if He is not severed from the power of God, 
how is He severed from the name of God. 

139. Let us now see whether He be a creature or the Creator. But since we 
have above most clearly proved Him to be the Creator, as it is written: 
"The Spirit of God Who hath made me;" and it has been declared that the 
face of the earth is renewed by the Spirit, and that all things languish 
without the Spirit, it is clear that the Spirit is the Creator. But who can 
doubt this, since, as we have shown above, not even the generation of the 
Lord from the Virgin, which is more excellent than all creatures, is without 
the operation of the Spirit? 

140. Therefore the Spirit is not a creature, but the Creator, and He Who is 
Creator is certainly not a creature. And because He is not a creature, 
without doubt He is the Creator Who produces all things together with the 
Father and the Son. But if He be the Creator, certainly the Apostle, by 
saying in condemnation of the Gentiles, "Who served the creature rather 



404 

than the Creator, Who is God blessed for ever," and by warning men, as I 
said above, that the Holy Spirit is to be served, both showed Him to be the 
Creator, and because He is the Creator demonstrated that He ought to be 
called God. Which he also sums up In the Epistle written to the Hebrews, 
saying: "For He that created all things is God." Let them, therefore, either 
say what it is which has been created without the Father, Son, and Holy 
Spirit, or let them confess that the Spirit also is of one Godhead with the 
Father and the Son. 

141. The writer taught also that He was to be worshipped, Whom he 
called Lord and God. For He Who is the God and Lord of the Universe is 
certainly to be worshipped by all, for it is thus written: "Thou shalt 
worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shall thou serve." 

142. Or let them say where they have read that the Spirit worships. For it 
is said of the Son of God: "Let all the Angels of God worship Him;" we do 
not read, Let the Spirit worship Him. For how can He worship Who is not 
amongst servants and ministers, but, together with the Father and the Son, 
has the service of the just under Him, for it is written: "We serve the Spirit 
of God." He is, therefore, to be worshipped by us, Whom the Apostle 
taught that we must serve, and Whom we serve we also adore, according to 
that which is written, to repeat the same words again: "Thou shall worship 
the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve." 

143. Although the Apostle has not omitted even this point, so as to omit 
to teach us that the Spirit is to be worshipped. For since we have 
demonstrated that the Spirit is in the prophets, no one can doubt that 
prophecy is given by the Spirit, and plainly when He Who is in the 
prophets is worshipped, the same Spirit is worshipped. And so you find: 
"If the whole Church be assembled together, and all speak with tongues, 
and there come in one unlearned or unbelieving, will he not say that ye are 
mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one unlearned and unbelieving, 
he is convicted by all, he is judged by all. For the secrets of his heart are 
made manifest, and so falling down on his face he will worship God, 
declaring that God is in truth among you." It is, therefore, God Who is 
worshipped, God Who abides and Who speaks in the prophets; but the 
Spirit thus abides and speaks, therefore, also, the Spirit is worshipped. 



405 
CHAPTER 19 



Having proved above that the Spirit abides and speaks in the 
prophets, St. Ambrose infers that He knows all things which are of 
God, and therefore is One with the Father and the Son. This same 
point he establishes again from the fact that He possesses all that 
God possesses, namely, Godhead, knowledge of the heart, truth, a 
Name above every name, and power to raise the dead, as is proved 
from Ezekiel, and in this He is equal to the Son. 

1 44 . A nd so as the Father and the Son are One, because the Son has all 
things which the Father has, so too the Spirit is one with the Father and 
the Son, because He too knows all the things of God. For He did not 
obtain it by force, so that there should be any injury as of one who had 
suffered loss; He did not seize it, lest the loss should be his from whom it 
might seem to have been plundered. For neither did He seize it through 
need, nor through superiority of greater power did He take it by force, but 
He possesses it by unity of power. Therefore, if He works all these things, 
for one and the same Spirit worketh all, how is He not God Who has all 
things which God has? 

145. Or let us consider what God may have which the Holy Spirit has not. 
God the Father has Godhead, and the Son, too, in Whom dwells the 
fullness of the Godhead, has it, and the Spirit has it, for it is written: "The 
Spirit of God is in my nostrils." 

146. God, again, searches the hearts and reins, for it is written: "God 
searcheth the hearts and reins." The Son also has this power, Who said, 
"Why think ye evil in your hearts?" For Jesus knew their thoughts. And 
the Spirit has the same power, Who manifests to the prophets also the 
secrets of the hearts of others, as we said above: "for the secrets of his 
heart are made manifest," And why do we wonder if He searches the 
hidden things of man Who searches even the deep things of God? 

147. God has as an attribute that He is true for it is written: "Let God be 
true and every man a liar." Does the Spirit lie Who is the Spirit of Truth? 
and Whom we have shown to be called the Truth, since John called Him 



406 

too the Truth, as also the Son? And David says in the psalm: "Send out 
Thy light and Thy truth, they have led me and brought me to Thy holy hill 
and to Thy tabernacles." If you consider that in this passage the Son is the 
light, then the Spirit is the Truth, or if you consider the Son to be the 
Truth, then the Spirit is the light, 

148. God has a Name which is above every name, and has given a name to 
the Son, as we read that in the Name of Jesus knees should bow. Let us 
consider whether the Spirit has this Name. But it is written "Go, baptize 
the nations in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 
Spirit," He has, then, a Name above every name. What, therefore, the 
Father and the Son have, the Holy Spirit also has through the oneness of 
the Name of His nature. 

149. It is a prerogative of God to raise the dead. "For as the Father raiseth 
the dead and quickeneth them, so the Son also quickeneth whom He will." 
But the Spirit also(by Whom God raiseth) raiseth them, for it is written: 
"He shall quicken also your mortal bodies through His Spirit that dwelleth 
in you." But that you may not think this a trivial grace, learn that the 
Spirit also raises, for the prophet Ezekiel says: "Come, O Spirit, and 
breathe upon these dead, and they shall live. And I prophesied as He 
commanded me, and the Spirit of life entered into them, and they lived, and 
stood up on their feet an exceeding great company." And farther on God 
says: "Ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall open your graves, 
that I may bring My people out of their graves, and I will give you My 
Spirit, and ye shall live." 

150. When He spoke of His Spirit, did He mention any other besides the 
Holy Spirit? For He would neither have spoken, of His Spirit as produced 
by blowing, nor could this Spirit come from the four quarters of the world, 
for the blowing of these winds, which we experience, is partial, not 
universal; and this spirit by which we live is also individual, not universal. 
But it is the nature of the Holy Spirit to be both over all and in all. 
Therefore from the words of the prophet we may see how(the flame- work 
of the members long since fallen asunder being scattered) the bones may 
come together again to the form of a revived body, when the Spirit 
quickens them; and the ashes may come together on the limbs belonging to 



407 

them, animated by a disposition to come together before being formed 
anew in the appearance of living. 

151. Do we not in the likeness of what is done recognize the oneness of 
the divine power? The Spirit raises after the same manner as the Lord 
raised at the time of His own Passion, when suddenly in the twinkling of 
an eye the graves of the dead were opened, and the bodies living again 
arose from the tombs, and the smell of death being removed, and the scent 
of life restored, the ashes of those who were dead took again the likeness 
of the living. 

152. So, then, the Spirit has that which Christ has, and therefore what God 
has, for all things which the Father has the Son also has, and therefore He 
said: "All things which the Father hath are Mine." 



408 
CHAPTER 20 



The river flowing from the Throne of God is a figure of the Holy 
Spirit, but by the waters spoken of by David the powers of heaven are 
intended. The kingdom of God is the work of the Spirit; and it is no 
matter for wonder if He reigns in this together with the Son, since 
St. Paul promises that we too shall reign with the Son. 

1 5 3 . A nd this, again, is not a trivial matter that we read that a river goes 
forth from the throne of God. For you read the words of the Evangelist 
John to this purport: "And He showed me a river of living water, bright as 
crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst 
of the street thereof, and on either side, was the tree of life, bearing twelve 
kinds of fruits, yielding its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree 
were for the healing of all nations." 

154. This is certainly the River proceeding from the throne of God, that is, 
the Holy Spirit, Whom he drinks who believes in Christ, as He Himself 
says: "If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink. He that believeth 
on Me, as saith the Scripture, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living 
water. But this spoke He of the Spirit." Therefore the river is the Spirit. 

155. This, then, is in the throne of God, for the water washes not the 
throne of God. Then, whatever you may understand by that water, David 
said not that it was above the throne of God, but above the heavens, for it 
is written: "Let the waters which are above the heavens praise the Name of 
the Lord." Let them praise, he says, not let it praise. For if he had intended 
us to understand the element of water, he would certainly have said, Let it 
praise, but by using the plural he intended the Powers to be understood. 

156. And what wonder is it if the Holy Spirit is in the throne of God, since 
the kingdom of God itself is the work of the Holy Spirit, as it is written: 
"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and 
peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." And when the Savior Himself says, 
"Every kingdom divided against itself shall be destroyed," by adding 
afterwards, "But if I, by the Spirit of God, cast out devils, without doubt 



409 

the kingdom of God is come upon you." He shows that the kingdom of 
God is held undivided by Himself and by the Spirit. 

157. But what is more foolish than for any one to deny that the Holy 
Spirit reigns together with Christ when the Apostle says that even we 
shall reign together with Christ in the kingdom of Christ: "If we are dead 
with Him, we shall also live with Him; if we endure, we shall also reign 
with Him." But we by adoption, He by power; we by grace, He by nature. 

158. The Holy Spirit, therefore, shares in the kingdom with the Father and 
the Son, and He is of one nature with Them, of one Lordship, and also of 
one power. 



410 

CHAPTER 21 



Isaiah was sent by the Spirit, and accordingly the same Spirit was 
seen by him. What is meant by the revolving wheels, and the divers 
wings, and how since the Spirit is proclaimed Lord of Sabaoth by the 
Seraphim, certainly none but impious men can deny Him this title. 

159. Since, then, He has a share in the kingdom, what hinders us from 
understanding that it was the Holy Spirit by Whom Isaiah was sent? For 
on the authority of Paul we cannot doubt, whose judgment the Evangelist 
Luke so much approved in the Acts of the Apostles as to write as follows 
in Paul's words: "Well spake the Holy Spirit through Isaiah the prophet to 
our fathers, saying: Go to this people and say, Ye shall hear with the ear 
and shall not understand, and seeing ye shall see and shall not perceive." 

160. It is, then, the Spirit Who sent Isaiah. If the Spirit sent him, it is 
certainly the Spirit Whom, after Uzziah's death, Isaiah saw, when he said: 
"I saw the Lord of Sabaoth sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and 
the house was full of His majesty. And the Seraphim stood round about 
Him, each one had six wings, and with two they were covering His face, 
and with two they were covering His feet, and with two they were flying; 
and they cried out one to the other, and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord 
of Sabaoth, the whole earth is full of His majesty." 

161. If the Seraphim were standing, how were they flying? If they were 
flying, how were they standing? If we cannot understand this, how is it 
that we want to understand God, Whom we have not seen? 

162. But as the prophet saw a wheel running within a wheel(which 
certainly does not refer to any appearance to the bodily sight, but to the 
grace of each Testament; for the life of the saints is polished, and so 
consistent with itself that later portions agree with the former). The wheel, 
then, within a wheel is life under the Law, life under grace; inasmuch as 
Jews are within the Church, the Law is included in grace. For he is within 
the Church who is a Jew secretly; and circumcision of the heart is a 
sacrament within the Church. But that Jewry is within the Church of 
which it is written: "In Jewry is God known;" therefore as wheel runs 



411 

within wheel, so in like manner the wings were still, and the wings were 
flying. 

163. In like manner, too, the Seraphim were veiling His face with two 
wings, and with two were veiling His feet, and with two were flying. For 
here also is a mystery of spiritual wisdom. Seasons stand, seasons fly; the 
past stand, the future are flying, and like the wings of the Seraphim, so 
they veil the face or the feet of God; inasmuch as in God, Who has neither 
beginning nor end, the whole course of times and seasons, from this 
knowledge of its beginning and its end, is at rest. So, then, times past and 
future stand, the present fly. Ask not after the secrets of His beginning or 
His end, for there is neither. You have the present, but you must praise 
Him, not question. 

164. The Seraphim with unwearied voices praise, and do you question? 
And certainly when they do this they show us that we must not 
sometimes question about God, but always praise Him. Therefore the 
Holy Spirit is also the Lord of Sabaoth. Unless perchance the Teacher 
Whom Christ chose pleases not the impious, or they can deny that the 
Holy Spirit is the Lord of powers, Who gives whatever powers He 
Himself wills. 



412 

CHAPTER 22 



In proof of the Unity in Trinity the passage of Isaiah which has been 
cited is considered, and it is shown that there is no difference as to 
its sense amongst those who expound it of the Father, or of the Son, 
or of the Spirit. If He Who was crucified was Lord of glory, so, too, is 
the Holy Spirit equal in all things to the Father and the Son, and the 
Arians will never be able to diminish His glory. 

165. It is now possible to recognize the oneness of the majesty and rule in 
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. For many say that it was God the 
Father Who was seen at that time by Isaiah. Paul says it was the Spirit, 
and Luke supports him. John the Evangelist refers it to the Son. or thus 
has he written of the Son: "These things spake Jesus, and departed and hid 
Himself from them. But though He had done so great signs before them, 
they did not believe on Him, that the word of Isaiah might be fulfilled 
which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report, and to whom hath the 
Arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore, they could not believe, because 
Isaiah said again, He hath blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, that 
they might not see with their eyes and understand with their heart and be 
converted, and I should heal them. These things said Isaiah when he saw 
His glory, and spake of Him." 

166. John says that Isaiah spoke these words, and revealed most clearly 
that the glory of the Son appeared to him. Paul, however, relates that the 
Spirit said these things. Whence, then, is this difference? 

167. There is, indeed, a difference of words, not of meaning. For though 
they said different things, neither was in error, for both the Father is seen 
in the Son, Who said, "He that seeth Me seeth the Father also," and the 
Son is seen in the Spirit; for as "no man says Lord Jesus, except in the 
Holy Spirit," so Christ is seen not by the eye of flesh, but by the grace of 
the Spirit. Whence, too, the Scripture says: "Rise, thou that sleepest, and 
arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon thee." And Paul, when he 
had lost his eyesight, how did he see Christ except in the Spirit? Wherefore 
the Lord says: "For to this end I have appeared unto thee, to appoint thee 



413 

a minister and a witness of the things wherein thou hast seen Me, and of 
the things wherein thou shalt see Me." s For the prophets also received the 
Spirit and saw Christ. 

168. One, then, is the vision, one the right to command, one the glory. Do 
we deny that the Holy Spirit is also the Lord of glory when the Lord of 
glory was crucified who was born from the Holy Spirit of the Virgin 
Mary? For Christ is not one of two, but is one, and was born as Son of 
God of the Father before the world; and in the world born as man by 
taking flesh. 

169. And why should I say that, as the Father and the Son, so, too, the 
Spirit is free from stain and Almighty, for Solomon called Him in Greek 
7tocvToS\)voc|xov, 7tav£7t'iG%o7tov, because He is Almighty and beholds all 
things, as we showed above to be, is read in the Book of Wisdom. 
Therefore the Spirit enjoys honor and glory. 

170. Consider now lest perchance something may not beseem Him, or if 
this displease thee, O Arian, drag Him down from His fellowship with the 
Father and the Son. But if thou choose to drag Him down thou wilt see the 
heavens reversed above thee, for all their strength is from the Spirit. If thou 
choose to drag Him down, thou must first lay hands on God, for the Spirit 
is God. But how wilt thou drag Him down, Who searcheth the deep things 
of God? 



414 



THE TWO BOOKS OF ST. AMBROSE, BISHOP OF 
MILAN, ON THE DECEASE OF HIS BROTHER 

SATYRUS 



INTRODUCTION 

B esides his elder sister Marcellina, who received the veil at the hands of 
Pope Liberius, at Christmas [perh. 353 A.D.], St. Ambrose had also a 
brother named Satyrus, to which name, in the epitaph on him ascribed to 
the bishop, is added Uranius. This is probably, however, merely in refence 
to his translation from earth to heaven. 

Satyrus had in his earlier years, as well as St. Ambrose, practised as an 
advocate, and had held office. But when his brother was appointed Bishop 
of Milan, Satyrus at once gave up his appointment, and devoted his life to 
managing St. Ambrose's secular affairs, that nothing might distract him 
from his episcopal duties. After, however, a few short years of devotion to 
this task, he succumbed to a severe illness October 7, A.D. 379. 

The grief of St. Ambrose at the loss of his absolutely like-minded brother 
was intense, and to it we owe the exquisite discourse delivered at the 
funeral of Satyrus, and the second, on the Resurrection, delivered one week 
later. 

St. Ambrose subsequently revised these two addresses, and they have 
come down to us as the "two books of St. Ambrose on the decease of 
Satyrus," some MSS. adding, "and the resurrection of the dead." 

The epitaph on Satyrus, said to be by St. Ambrose, is as follows: 

Uranio Satyr o supremum frater honor em 

Martyris ad laevam detulit Ambrosius. 

Haec meriti merces, ut sacri sanguinis humor 

Finitimas penetrans adluat exuvias. 



415 

THE TWO BOOKS OF ST. AMBROSE, BISHOP OF MILAN, 

ON THE 

DECEASE OF HIS BROTHER S AYTRUS 

BOOK I 



1 . W E have brought hither, dearest brethren, my sacrifice, a sacrifice 
undefiled, a sacrifice well pleasing to God, my Lord and brother Satyrus. I 
did not forget that he was mortal, nor did my feelings deceive me, but grace 
abounded more exceedingly. And so I have nothing to complain of, but 
have cause for thankfulness to God, for I always desired that if any 
troubles should await either the Church or myself, they should rather fall 
on me and on my house. Thanks, therefore, be to God, that in this time of 
common fear, when everything is dreaded from the barbarian movements, I 
ended the trouble of all by my personal grief, and that I dreaded for all 
which was turned upon me. And may this be fully accomplished, so that 
my grief may be a ransom for the grief of all. 

2. Nothing among things of earth, dearest brethren, was more precious to 
me, nothing more worthy of love, nothing more dear than such a brother, 
but public matters come before private. And should any one enquire what 
was his feeling; he would rather be slain for others than live for himself, 
because Christ died according to the flesh for all, that we might learn not to 
live for ourselves alone. 

3. To this must be added that I cannot be ungrateful to God; for I must 
rather rejoice that I had such a brother than grieve that I had lost a brother, 
for the former is a gift, the latter a debt to be paid. And so, as long as I 
might, I enjoyed the loan entrusted to me, now He Who deposited the 
pledge has taken it back. There is no difference between denying that a 
pledge has been deposited and grieving at its being returned. In each there 
is untrustworthiness, and in each [eternal] life is risked. It is a fault if you 



416 

refuse repayment, and piety if you refuse a sacrifice. Since, too, the lender 
of money can be made a fool of, but the Author of nature, the Lender of all 
that we need, cannot be cheated. And so the larger the amount of the loan, 
so much the more gratitude is due for the use of the capital. 

4. Wherefore, I cannot be ungrateful concerning my brother, for he has 
given back that which was common to nature, and has gained what is 
peculiar to grace alone. For who would refuse the common lot? Who would 
grieve that a pledge specially en-trusted to him is taken away, since the 
Father gave up His only Son to death for us? Who would think that he 
ought to be excepted from the lot of dying, who has not been excepted 
from the lot of being born? It is a great mystery of divine love, that not 
even in Christ was exception made of the death of the body; and although 
He was the Lord of nature, He refused not the law of the flesh which He 
had taken upon Him. It is necessary for me to die, for Him it was not 
necessary. Could not He Who said of His servant, "If I will that he tarry 
thus until I come, what is that to thee?" not have remained as He was, if so 
He willed? But by continuance of my brother's life here, he would have 
destroyed his reward and my sacrifice. What is a greater consolation to us 
than that according to the flesh Christ also died? Or why should I weep 
too violently for my brother, knowing as I do that that divine love could 
not die. 

5. Why should I alone weep more than others for him for whom you all 
weep? I have merged my personal grief in the grief of all, especially 
because my tears are of no use, whereas yours strengthen faith and bring 
consolation. You who are rich weep, and by weeping prove that riches 
gathered together are of no avail for safety, since death cannot be put off 
by a money payment, and the last day carries off alike the rich and the 
poor. You that are old weep, because in him you fear that you see the lot 
of your own children; and for this reason, since you cannot prolong the life 
of the body, train your children not to bodily enjoyment but to virtuous 
duties. And you that are young weep too, because the end of life is not the 
ripeness of old age. The poor too wept, and, which is of much more worth, 
and much more fruitful, washed away his transgressions with their tears. 
Those are redeeming tears, those are groanings which hide the grief of 
death, that grief which through the plenteousness of eternal joy covers 
over the feeling of former grief. And so, though the funeral be that of a 



417 

private person, yet is the mourning public; and therefore cannot the 
weeping last long which is hallowed by the affection of all, 

6. For why should I weep for thee, my most loving brother, who wast 
thus torn from me that thou mightest be the brother of all? For I have not 
lost but changed my intercourse with thee; before we were inseparable in 
the body, now we are undivided in affection; for thou remainest with me, 
and ever wilt remain. And, indeed, whilst thou wast living with me, our 
country never tore thee from me, nor didst thou thyself ever prefer our 
country to me; and now thou art become surety for that other country, for 
I begin to be no stranger there where the better portion of myself already 
is. I was never wholly engrossed in myself, but the greater part of each of 
us was in the other, yet we were each of us in Christ, in Whom is the 
whole sum of all, and the portion of each severally. This grave is more 
pleasing to me than thy natal soil, in which is the fruit not of nature but of 
grace, for in that body which now lies lifeless lies the better work of my 
life, since in this body, too, which I bear is the richer portion of thyself. 

7. And would that, as memory and gratitude are devoted to thee, so, too, 
whatever time I have still to breathe this air, I could breathe it into thy life, 
and that half of my time might be struck off from me and be added to 
thine! For it had been just that for those, whose use of hereditary property 
was always undivided, the period of life should not have been divided, or 
at least that we, who always without difference shared everything in 
common during life, should not have a difference in our deaths. 

8. But now, brother, whither shall I advance, or whither shall I turn? The 
ox seeks his fellow, and conceives itself incomplete, and by frequent 
lowing shows its tender longing, if perchance that one is wanting with 
whom it has been wont to draw the plough. And shall I, my brother, not 
long after thee? Or can I ever forget thee, with whom I always drew the 
plough of this life? In work I was inferior, but in love more Closely bound; 
not so much fit through my strength, as endurable through thy patience, 
who with the care of anxious affection didst ever protect my side with 
thine, as a brother in thy love, as a father in thy care, as older in 
watchfulness, as younger in respect. So in the one degree of relationship 
thou didst expend on me the duties of many, so that I long after not one 
only but many lost in thee, in whom alone flattery was unknown, 



418 

dutifulness was portrayed. For thou hadst nothing to which to add by 
pretense, inasmuch as all was comprised in thy dutifulness, so as neither 
to receive addition nor await a change. 

9. But whither am I going, in my immoderate grief, forgetful of my duty, 
mindful of kindness received? The Apostle calls me back, and as it were 
puts a bit upon my sorrow, saying, as you heard just now: "We would not 
that ye should be ignorant, brethren, concerning them that sleep, that ye be 
not sorrowful, as the rest which have no hope." Pardon me, dearest 
brethren. For we are not all able to say: "Be ye imitators of me, as I also 
am of Christ." But if you seek one to imitate, you have One Whom you 
may imitate. All are not fitted to teach, would that all were apt to learn. 

10. But we have not incurred any grievous sin by our tears. Not all 
weeping proceeds from unbelief or weakness. Natural grief is one thing, 
distrustful sadness is another, and there is a very great difference between 
longing for what you have lost and lamenting that you have lost it. Not 
only grief has tears, joy also has tears of its own. Both piety excites 
weeping, and prayer waters the couch, and supplication, according to the 
prophet's saying, washes the bed, Their friends made a great mourning 
when the patriarchs were buried. Tears, then, are marks of devotion, not 
producers of grief. I confess, then, that I too wept, but the Lord also wept. 
He wept for one not related to Him, I for my brother. He wept for all in 
weeping for one, T will weep for thee in all, my brother. 

1 1. He wept for what affected us, not Himself; for the Godhead sheds no 
tears; but He wept in that nature in which He was sad; He wept in that in 
which He was crucified, in that in which He died, in that in which He was 
buried. He wept in that which the prophet this day brought to our minds: 
"Mother Sion shall say, A man, yea, a man was made in her, and the Most 
High Himself established her." He wept in that nature in which He called 
Sion Mother, born in Judaea, conceived by the Virgin. But according to His 
Divine Nature He could not have a mother, for He is the Creator of His 
mother. So far as He was made, it was not by divine but by human 
generation, because He was made man, God was born. 

12. But you read in another place: "Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son 
is given." In the word Child is an indication of age, in that of Son the 



419 

fullness of the Godhead. Made of His mother, born of the Father yet the 
Same Person was both born and given, you must not think of two but of 
one. For one is the Son of God, both born of the Father and sprung from 
the Virgin, differing in order, but in name agreeing in one, as, too, the lesson 
just heard teaches for "a man was made in her and the Most High Himself 
established her;" man indeed in the body, the Most High in power. And 
though He be God and man in diversity of nature, yet is He at the same 
time one in each nature. One property, then, is peculiar to His own nature, 
another He has in common with us, but in both is He one, and in both is 
He perfect. 

13. Therefore it is no subject of wonder that God made Him to be both 
Lord and Christ. He made Him Jesus, Him, that is, Who received the name 
in His bodily nature; He made Him of Whom also the patriarch David 
writes: "Mother Sion shall say, A man, yea, a man is made in her." But 
being made man He is unlike the Father, not in Godhead but in His body; 
not separated from the Father, but differing in office, abiding united in 
power, but separated in the mystery of the Passion. 

14. The treatment of this topic demands more arguments, by which to 
demonstrate the authority of the Father, the special property of the Son, 
and the Unity of the whole Trinity; but to-day I have undertaken the 
office of consolation, not of discussion, although it is customary in 
consoling to draw away the mind from its grief by application to 
discussion. But I would rather moderate the grief than alter the affection, 
that the longing may rather be assuaged than lulled to sleep. For I have no 
wish to turn away too far from my brother, and to be led off by other 
thoughts, seeing that this discourse has been undertaken, as it were, for the 
sake of accompanying him, that I might follow in affection him departing, 
and embrace in mind him whom I see with my eyes. For it gives me 
pleasure to fix the whole gaze of my eyes on him, to encompass him with 
kindly endearments; whilst my mind is stupefied, and I feel as though he 
were not lost whom I am able still to see present; and I think him not dead, 
my services to whom I do not as yet perceive to be wanting, services to 
which I had devoted the whole of my life and the drawing of every breath. 

15. What, then, can I pay back in return for such kindness and such pains? 
I had made thee, my brother, my heir; thou hast left me as the heir; I hoped 



420 

to leave thee as survivor, and thou hast left me. I, in return for thy 
kindnesses, that I might repay thy benefits, gave wishes; now I have lost 
my wishes yet not thy benefits. What shall I, succeeding to my own heir, 
do? What shall I do who outlive my own life? What shall I do, no longer 
sharing this light which yet shines on me? What thanks, what good offices, 
can I repay to thee? Thou hast nothing from me but tears. And perchance, 
secure of thy reward, thou desirest not those tears which are all that I have 
left. For even when thou wast yet alive, thou didst forbid me to weep, and 
didst show that our grief was more pain to thee than thine own death. 
Tears are bidden to flow no longer, and weeping is repressed. And 
gratitude to thee forbids them too, lest whilst we weep for our loss we 
seem to despair concerning thy merits. 

16. But for myself at least thou lessenest the bitterness of that grief; I have 
nothing to fear who used to fear for thee. I have nothing which the world 
can now snatch from me. Although our holy sister still survives, venerable 
for her blameless life, thy equal in character, and not falling short in kindly 
offices; yet we both used to fear more for thee, we felt that all the 
sweetness of this life was stored up in thee. To live for thy sake was a 
delight, to die for thee were no cause of sorrow, for we both used to pray 
that thou mightest survive, it was no pleasure that we should survive thee. 
When did not our very soul shudder when a dread of this kind touched us? 
How were our minds dismayed by the tidings of thy sickness! 

17. Alas for our wretched hopes! We thought that he was restored to us 
whom we see carried off, and we now recognize that thy departure hence 
was obtained by thy vows to the holy martyr Lawrence! And indeed I 
would that thou hadst obtained not only a safe passage hence, but also a 
longer time of life I Thou couldst have obtained many years of life, since 
thou wast able to obtain thy departure hence. And I indeed thank Thee, 
Almighty Everlasting God, that Thou hast not denied us at least this last 
comfort, that Thou hast granted us the longed-for return of our much loved 
brother from the regions of Sicily and Africa; for he was snatched away so 
soon after his return as though his death were delayed for this alone, that 
he might return to his brethren. 

18. Now, I clearly have my pledge which no change can any more tear 
from me; I have the relics which I may embrace, I have the tomb which I 



421 

may cover with my body, I have the grave on which I may lie, and I shall 
believe that I am more acceptable to God, because I shall rest upon the 
bones of that holy body. Would that I had been able in like manner to 
place my body in the way of thy death! Hadst thou been attacked with the 
sword, I would have rather offered myself to be pierced for thee; had I 
been able to recall thy life as it was passing away, I would have rather 
offered my own. 

19. It profited me nothing to receive thy last breath, nor to have breathed 
into the mouth of thee dying, for I thought that either I myself should 
receive thy death, or should transfer my life to thee. O that sad, yet sweet 
pledge of the last kiss! O the misery of that embrace, in which the lifeless 
body began to stiffen, the last breath vanished! I tightened my arms 
indeed, but had already lost him whom I was holding; I drew in thy last 
breath with my mouth, that I might share thy death. But in some way that 
breath became lifegiving to me, and even in death diffused an odor of 
greater love. And if I was unable to lengthen thy life by my breath, would 
that at least the strength of thy last breath might have been transfused into 
my mind, and that our affection might have inspired me with that purity 
and innocence of thine. Thou wouldst have left me, dearest brother, this 
inheritance, which would not smite the affections with tears of grief, but 
commend thine heir by notable grace. 

20. What, then, shall I now do, since all the sweetness, all the solace, in 
fine, all the charms of that life are lost to me? For thou wast alone my 
solace at home, my charm abroad; thou, I say, my adviser in counsel, the 
sharer in my cares, the averter of anxiety, the driver away of sorrow; thou 
wast the protector of my acts and the defender of my thoughts; thou, 
lastly, the only one on whom rested care of home and of public matters. I 
call thy holy soul to witness that, in the building of the church, I often 
feared lest I might displease thee. Lastly, when thou earnest back thou 
didst chide thy delay. So wast thou, at home and abroad, the instructor and 
teacher of the priest, that thou didst not suffer him to think of domestic 
matters, and didst take thought to care for public matters. But I may not 
fear to seem to speak boastingly, for this is thy meed of praise, that thou, 
without displeasing any, both didst manage thy brother's house and 
recommend his priesthood. 



422 

21. 1 feel, indeed, that my mind is touched by the repetition of thy services 
and the enumeration of thy virtues, and yet in being thus affected I find 
my rest, and although these memories renew my grief, they nevertheless 
bring pleasure. Am I able either not to think of thee, or ever to think of 
thee without tears? And shall I ever be able either not to remember such a 
brother, or to remember him without tearful gratitude? For what has ever 
been pleasant to me that has not had its source in thee? What, I say, has 
ever been a pleasure to me without thee, or to thee without me? Had we 
not every practice in common, almost to our very eyesight and our sleep? 
Were our wills ever at variance? And what step did we not take in 
common? So that we almost seemed in raising our feet to move each others 
body. 

22. But if ever either had to go forth without the other, one would think 
that his side was unprotected, one could see his countenance troubled, one 
would suppose that his soul was sad, the accustomed grace, the usual vigor 
did not shine forth, the loneliness was a subject of dread to all, and made 
them fearful of some sickness. Such a strange thing it seemed to all that we 
were separated. I certainly, impatient at my brother's absence, and having 
it constantly in mind, kept on turning my head seeking him, as it were, 
present, and seemed to myself then to see him and speak to him. But if I 
was disappointed in my hope, I seemed to myself, as it were, to be 
dragging a yoke on my bowed down neck, to advance with difficulty, to 
meet others with diffidence, and to return home hurriedly, since it gave me 
no pleasure to go farther without thee. 

23. But when we both had to go forth, there were not more steps on the 
way than words, nor was our pace quicker than our talk, and it was less 
for the sake of walking than for the pleasure of conversing, for each of us 
hung on the lips of the other. We thought not of gazing intently on the 
view as we passed along, but listened to each other's anxious talk, drank in 
the kindly expression of the eyes, and inhaled the delight of the brother's 
appearance. How I used silently to admire within myself thy virtues, how 
I congratulated myself that God had given me such a brother, so modest, 
so capable, so innocent, so simple, so that when I thought of thy 
innocence I began to doubt thy capability, when I saw thy capability I 
could hardly imagine thy innocence! But thou didst combine both with 
wonderful perfection. 



423 

24. Lastly, what we both had been unable to effect, thou didst accomplish 
alone. Prosper, as I hear, congratulated himself because he thought that on 
account of my priesthood he need not restore what he had purloined, but 
he found thy power alone to be greater than that of us both together. And 
so he paid all, and was not ungrateful for thy moderation, and did not scoff 
at thy modesty. But for whom, brother, didst thou seek to gain that? We 
wished that should be the reward of thy labors which was the proof of 
them. Thou didst accomplish everything, and when having done all thou 
didst return, thou alone, who art to be preferred to all, art torn from us; as 
if thou hadst put off death for this end, that thou mightest fulfill the office 
of affection, and then carry off the palm for capability. 

25. How little, dearest brother, did the honors of this world delight us, 
because they separated us from one another! And we accepted them, not 
because the acquisition of them was to be desired, but that there might be 
no appearance of paltry dissimulation. Or perhaps they were therefore 
granted to us, that, inasmuch as by thy early death thou wast about to 
shatter our pleasure, we might learn to live without each other. 

26. And indeed I recognize the foreboding dread of my mind, when I often 
go again through what I have written. I endeavored to restrain thee, 
brother, from visiting Africa thyself, and wished thee rather to send some 
one. I was afraid to let thee go that journey, to trust thee to the waves, and 
a greater fear than usual came over my mind; but thou didst arrange the 
journey, and order the business, and, as I hear, didst entrust thyself again 
to the waves in an old and leaky vessel For since thou wast aiming at 
speed, thou didst set caution aside; eager to do me a kindness, thou madest 
nothing of thy danger. 

27. O deceitful joy! O the uncertain course of earthly affairs! We thought 
that he who was returned from Africa, restored from the sea, preserved 
after shipwreck, could not now be snatched from us; but, though on land, 
we suffered a more grievous shipwreck, for the death of him whom 
shipwreck at sea owing to strong swimming could not kill is shipwreck to 
us. For what enjoyment remains to us, from whom so sweet an ornament 
has been taken, so bright a light in this world's darkness has been 
extinguished? For in him an ornament not only of our family but of the 
whole fatherland has perished. 



424 

28. 1 feel, indeed, the deepest gratitude to you, dearest brethren, holy 
people, that you esteem my grief as no other than your own, that you feel 
this bereavement as having happened to yourselves, that you offer me the 
tears of the whole city, of every age, and the good wishes of every rank, 
with unusual affection. For this is not the grief of private sympathy, but 
as it were a service and offering of public good- will. And should any 
sympathy with me because of the loss of such a brother touch you, I have 
abundant fruit from it, I have the pledge of your affection. I might prefer 
that my brother were living, but yet public kindness is in prosperity very 
pleasant, and in adversity very grateful. 

29. And, indeed, so great kindness seems to me to merit no ordinary 
gratitude. For not without a purpose are the widows in the Acts of the 
Apostles described as weeping when Tabitha was dead, or the crowd in 
the Gospel, moved by the widow's tears and accompanying the funeral of 
the young man who was to be raised again. There is, then, no doubt that 
by your tears the protection of the apostles is obtained; no doubt, I say, 
that Christ is moved to mercy, seeing you weeping. Though He has not 
now touched the bier, yet He has received the spirit commended to Him, 
and if He have not called the dead by the bodily voice, yet He has by the 
authority of His divine power delivered my brother's soul from the pains 
of death and from the attacks of wicked spirits. And though he that was 
dead has not sat up on the bier, yet he has found rest in Christ; and if he 
have not spoken to us, yet he sees those things which are above us, and 
rejoices in that he now sees higher things than we. For by the things which 
we read in the Gospels we understand what shall be, and what we see at 
present is a sign of what is to be. 

30. He had no need of being raised again for time, for whom the raising 
again for eternity is waiting. For why should he fall back into this 
wretched and miserable state of corruption, and return to this mournful 
life, for whose rescue from such imminent evils and threatening dangers we 
ought rather to rejoice? For if no one mourns for Enoch, who was 
translated when the world was at peace and wars were not raging, but the 
people rather congratulated him, as Scripture says concerning him: "He 
was taken away, lest that wickedness should alter his understanding," with 
how much greater justice must this now be said, when to the dangers of the 
world is added the uncertainty of life. He was taken away that he might 



425 

not fall into the hands of the barbarians; he was taken away that he might 
not see the ruin of the whole earth, the end of the world, the burial of his 
relatives, the death of fellow-citizens; lest, lastly, which is more bitter than 
any death, he should see the pollution of the holy virgins and widows. 

31. So then, brother, I esteem thee happy both in the beauty of thy life 
and in the opportuneness of thy death. For thou wast snatched away not 
from us but from dangers; thou didst not lose life but didst escape the fear 
of threatening troubles. For with the pity of thy holy mind for those near 
to thee, if thou knewest that Italy was now oppressed by the nearness of 
the enemy, how wouldst thou groan, how wouldst thou grieve that our 
safety wholly depended on the barrier of the Alps, and that the protection 
of purity consisted in barricades of trees! With what sorrow wouldst thou 
mourn that thy friends were separated from the enemy by so slight a 
division, from an enemy, too, both impure and cruel, who spares neither 
chastity nor life. 

32. How, I say, couldst thou bear these things which we are compelled to 
endure, and perchance (which is more grievous) to behold virgins ravished, 
little children torn from the embrace of their parents and tossed on javelins, 
the bodies consecrated to God defiled, and even aged widows polluted? 
How, I say, couldst thou endure these things, who even with thy last 
breath, forgetful of thyself, yet not without thought for us, didst warn us 
concerning the invasion of the barbarians, saying that not in vain hadst 
thou said that we ought to flee. Perchance was it because thou didst see 
that we were left destitute by thy death, and thou didst it, not out of 
weakness of spirit, but from affection, and wast weak with respect to us, 
but strong with respect to thyself. For when thou wast summoned home 
by the noble man Symmachus thy parent, because Italy was said to be 
blazing with war, because thou wast going into danger, because thou wast 
likely to fall amongst enemies, thou didst answer that this was the cause of 
thy coming, that thou mightest not fail us in danger, that thou mightest 
show thyself a sharer in thy brother's peril. 

33. Happy, then, was he in so opportune a death, because he has not been 
preserved for this sorrow. Certainly thou art happier than thy holy sister, 
deprived of thy comfort, anxious for her own modesty, lately blessed with 
two brothers, now wretched because of both, being able neither to follow 



426 

the one nor to leave the other; for whom thy tomb is a lodging, and the 
burying-place of thy body a home. And would that even this resting-place 
were safe! Our food is mingled with weeping and our drink with tears, for 
thou hast given us the bread of tears as food, and tears to drink in large 
measure, nay, even beyond measure. 

34. What now shall I say of myself, who may not die lest I leave my 
sister, and desire not to live lest I be separated from thee? For what can 
ever be pleasant to me without thee, in whom was always my whole 
pleasure? or what satisfaction is it to remain longer in this life, and to linger 
on the earth where we lived with pleasure so long as we lived together? If 
there were anything which could delight us here, it could not delight 
without thee; and if ever we had earnestly desired to prolong our life, now 
at any rate we would not exist without thee. 

35. This is indeed unendurable. For what can be endured without thee, 
such a companion of my life, such a sharer of my toil and partaker of my 
duties? And I could not even make his loss more endurable by dwelling on 
it beforehand, so much did my mind fear to think of any such thing 
concerning him! Not that I was ignorant of his condition, but a certain kind 
of prayers and vows had so clouded the sense of common frailty, that I 
knew not how to think anything concerning him except entire prosperity. 

36. And then lately, when I was oppressed by a severe attack (would that 
it had been fatal), I grieved only that thou wast not sitting by my couch, 
and sharing the kindly duty with my holy sister mightest with thy fingers 
close my eyes when dead. What had I wished? What am I now pondering? 
What vows are wanting? What services are to succeed? I was preparing 
one thing, I am compelled to set forth another; not being the subject of the 
funeral rites but the minister. O hard eyes, which could behold my brother 
dying! O cruel and unkind hands, which closed those eyes in which I used 
to see so much! O still harder neck, which could bear so sad a burden, 
though it were in a service full of consolation. 

37. Thou, my brother, hadst more justly done these things for me. I used 
to expect these services at thy hands, I used to long for them. But now, 
having survived my own life, what comfort can I find without thee, who 
alone usedst to comfort me when mourning, to excite my happiness and 



427 

drive away my sorrow? How do I now behold thee, my brother, who now 
addressest no words to me, offerest me no kiss? Though, indeed, our 
mutual love was so deeply seated in each of us, that it was cherished rather 
by inward affection than made public by open caresses, for we who 
professed such mutual trust and love did not seek the testimony of others. 
The strong spirit of our brotherhood had so infused itself into each of us, 
that there was no need to prove our love by caresses; but our minds being 
conscious of our affection, we, satisfied with our inward love, did not seem 
to require the show of caresses, whom the very appearance of each other 
fashioned for mutual love; for we seemed, I know not by what spiritual 
stamp or bodily likeness, to be the one in the other. 

38. Who saw thee, and did not think that he had seen me? How often have 
I saluted those who, because they had previously saluted thee, said that 
they had been already saluted by me? How many said something to thee, 
and related that they had said it to me? What pleasure, what amusement 
often was given me by this, because I saw that they were mistaken in us? 
What an agreeable mistake, what a pleasant slip, how innocent a deceit, 
how sweet a trick! For there was nothing for me to fear in thy words or 
acts, and I rejoiced when they were ascribed to me. 

39. But if they insisted all too vehemently that they had given me some 
information, I used to smile and answer with delight: Take care that it was 
not my brother whom you told. For since we had everything in common, 
one spirit and one disposition, yet the secrets of friends alone were not 
common property, not that we were afraid of danger in the 
communication, but that we might keep faith by withholding it. Yet if we 
had a matter to be consulted about, our counsel was always in common, 
though the secret was not always made common. For although our friends 
spoke to either of us, so that what they said might reach the other; yet I 
know that secrets were for the most part kept with such good faith that 
they were not imparted even to the other brother. For this is a convincing 
proof that was not betrayed without which had not been imparted to the 
brother. 

40. 1 confess, then, that being raised by these so great and excellent 
benefits to a kind of mental ecstasy, I had ceased to fear that I might be the 
survivor, because I thought him more worthy to live, and therefore 



428 

received the blow which I am unable to endure, for the wounds of such 
pain are more easily borne when dwelt upon beforehand than when 
unexpected. Who will now console me full of sorrows? Who will raise up 
him that is smitten down? With whom shall I share my cares? Who will set 
me free from the business of this world? For thou wast the manager of our 
affairs, the censor of the servants, the decider between brother and sister, 
the decider not in matters of strife but of affection. 

41. For if at any time there was a discussion between me and my holy 
sister on any matter, as to which was the preferable opinion, we used to 
take thee as judge, who wouldst hurt no one, and anxious to satisfy each, 
didst keep to thy loving affection and the right measure in deciding, so as 
to let each depart satisfied, and gain for thyself the thanks of each. Or if 
thou thyself broughtest anything for discussion, how pleasantly didst thou 
argue! and thy very indignation, how free from bitterness it was! how was 
thy discipline not unpleasant to the servants themselves! since thou didst 
strive rather to blame thyself before thy brethren than to punish through 
excitement! For our profession restrained in us the zeal for correction, and, 
indeed, thou, my brother, didst remove from us every inclination to 
correct, when thou didst promise to punish and desire to alleviate. 

42. That is, then, evidence of no ordinary prudence, which virtue is thus 
defined by the wise. The first of good things is to know God, and with a 
pious mind to reverence Him as true and divine, and to delight in that 
lovable and desirable beauty of the eternal Truth with the whole affection 
of the mind. And the second consists in deriving from that divine and 
heavenly source of nature, love towards our neighbors, since even the wise 
of this world have borrowed from our laws. For they never could have 
obtained those points for the discipline of men, except from that heavenly 
fount of the divine law. 

43. What, then, shall I say of his reverence in regard to the worship of 
God? He, before being initiated in the more perfect mysteries, being in 
danger of shipwreck when the ship that bore him, dashed upon rocky 
shallows, was being broken up by the waves tossing it hither and thither, 
fearing not death but lest he should depart this life without the Mystery, 
asked of those whom he knew to be initiated the divine Sacrament of the 
faithful; not that he might gaze on secret things with curious eyes, but to 



429 

obtain aid for his faith. For he caused it to be bound in a napkin, and the 
napkin round his neck, and so cast himself into the sea, not seeking a plank 
loosened from the framework of the ship, by floating on which he might be 
rescued, for he sought the means of faith alone. And so believing that he 
was sufficiently protected and defended by this, he sought no other aid. 

44. One may consider his courage at the same time, for he, when the vessel 
was breaking up, did not as a shipwrecked man seize a plank, but as a 
brave man found in himself the support of his courage, nor did his hope 
fail nor his expectation deceive him. And then, when preserved from the 
waves and brought safe to land in the port, he first recognized his Leader, 
to Whom he had committed himself, and at once after either himself 
rescuing the servants, or see-lug that they were rescued, disregarding his 
goods, and not longing for what was lost, he sought the Church of God, 
that he might return thanks for his deliverance, and acknowledge the eternal 
mysteries, declaring that there was no greater duty than thanksgiving. But 
if not to be grateful to man has been judged like to murder, how enormous 
a crime is it not to be grateful to God! 

45. Now it is the mark of a prudent man to know himself, and, as it has 
been defined by the wise, to live in accordance with nature. What, then, is 
so much in accordance with nature as to be grateful to the Creator? Behold 
this heaven, does it not render thanks to its Creator when He is seen? For 
"the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims His 
handywork." The sea itself when it is quiet and at rest sets forth a 
representation of the Divine Quiet; when it is stirred up, it shows that the 
wrath on high is terrible. Do we not all rightly admire the grace of God, 
when we observe that senseless nature restrains its waves as it were with 
sense and reason, and that the waves know their own limit? And what 
shall I say of the earth, which in obedience to the divine command freely 
supplies food to all living things; and the fields restore what they have 
received multiplied as it were by accumulating interest, and heaped up. 

46. So he who by the guidance of nature had grasped the methods of the 
divine work in the ardent vigor of his mind, knew that thanks should be 
paid first of all to the Preserver of all; but inasmuch as he could not repay, 
he could at least feel grateful. For the essence of this thankfulness is that 
when it is offered it is felt, and by being felt is offered. So he offered 



430 

thanks and brought away faith. For he who had felt such protection on the 
part of the heavenly Mystery wrapped in a napkin, how much did he 
expect if he received it with his mouth and drew it to the very depth of his 
bosom? How much more must he have been expecting of that, when 
received into his breast, which had so benefited him when covered with a 
napkin? 

47. But he was not so eager as to lay aside caution. He called the bishop to 
him, and esteeming that there can be no true thankfulness except it spring 
from true faith, he enquired whether he agreed with the Catholic bishops, 
that is, with the Roman Church? And possibly at that place the Church of 
the district was in schism. For at that time Lucifer had withdrawn from our 
communion, and although he had been an exile for the faith, and had left 
inheritors of his own faith, yet my brother did not think that there could 
be true faith in schism. For though schismatics kept the faith towards God, 
yet they kept it not towards the Church of God, certain of whose limbs 
they suffered as it were to be divided, and her members to be torn. For 
since Christ suffered for the Church, and the Church is the body of Christ, 
it does not seem that faith in Christ is shown by those by whom His 
Passion is made of none effect, and His body divided. 

48. And so though he retained the deposit of faith, and feared to voyage as 
debtor of so vast an amount, yet he preferred to cross over to a place 
where he could make his payment in safety, for he was convinced that the 
payment of thankfulness to God consists in dispositions and faith, which 
payment, so soon as he had free access to the Church, he delayed not to 
make. And he both received the grace of God which he longed for, and 
preserved it when received. Nothing, then, can be wiser than that prudence 
which distinguishes between divine and human matters. 

49. Why should I speak of his welLknown eloquence in his forensic 
duties? What incredible admiration did he excite in the hall of justice of the 
high prefecture! But I prefer to speak of those things which he esteemed, 
through consideration of the mysteries of God, to be preferable to human 
matters. 

50. And should any one wish more fully to regard his fortitude, let him 
consider how often after his shipwreck with invincible disregard of this life 



431 

he crossed the sea and traveled through widespread regions in his journeys, 
and at last that at this very time he did not shrink from danger, but met it. 
Patient under injustice, regardless of cold, would that he had been equally 
thoughtful in taking precautions. But exactly herein was he blessed, that 
he, so long as his bodily strength allowed, spent his life fulfilling the work 
of youth, uninterruptedly carrying out what he wished to do, and paid no 
attention to his weakness. 

51. But in what words can I set forth his simplicity? By this I mean a 
certain moderation of character and soberness of mind. Pardon me, I 
beseech you, and attribute it to my grief, if I allow myself to speak 
somewhat fully about him with whom I am no longer permitted to 
converse. And certainly it is an advantage for you to see that you have 
performed this kindly office not led by weak feelings, but by sound 
judgment; not as impelled by pity for his death, but moved by desire to do 
honor to his virtues; for every simple soul is blessed. And so great was his 
simplicity, that, converted as it were into a child, he was conspicuous for 
the simplicity belonging to that guileless age, for the likeness of perfect 
virtue, and for reflecting as in a mirror innocence of character. Therefore he 
entered into the kingdom of heaven, because he believed the word of God, 
because he, like a child, rejected the artifices of flattery, and chose rather to 
accept with gentleness the pain of injustice than to avenge himself sharply; 
he was more ready to listen to complaints than to guile, ready for 
conciliation, inaccessible to ambition, holy in modesty, so that in him one 
would rather speak of excess of bashfulness than have to seek for such as 
is needful. 

52. But the foundations of virtue are never in excess, for modesty does not 
hinder but rather commends the discharge of duty. And so was his face 
suffused with a certain virginal modesty, showing forth his inward feeling 
in his countenance, if perchance he had, coming on a sudden, met some 
female relative, he was as it were bowed down and sunk to the earth, 
though he was not different in company with men, he seldom lifted up his 
face, raised his eyes, or spoke; when he did one of these things, it was with 
a kind of bashful modesty of heart, with which, too, the chastity of his 
body agreed. For he preserved the gifts of holy baptism inviolate, being 
pure in body and still more pure in heart; fearing not less the shame of 



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impurity in conversation than in his body; and thinking that no less regard 
was to be paid to modesty in purity of words than in chastity of body. 

53. In fine, he so loved chastity as never to seek a wife, although in him it 
was not merely the desire of chastity, but also the grace of his love for us. 
But in a wonderful manner he concealed his feeling as to marriage, and 
avoided all boastfulness; and so carefully did he conceal his feeling, that 
even when we pressed it on him, he appeared rather to postpone wedlock 
than to avoid it. So this was the one point with which he did not trust his 
brother and sister, not through any doubtful hesitation, but simply through 
virtuous modesty. 

54. Who, then, could refrain from wondering that a man in age between a 
brother and a sister, the one a virgin, the Other a priest, yet in greatness of 
soul not below either, should so excel in two great gifts, as to reflect the 
chastity of one vocation and the sanctity of the other, being bound not by 
profession but by the exercise of virtue. If, then, lust and anger bring forth 
other vices, I may rightly call chastity and gentleness as it were the parents 
of virtues; although, as it is the origin of all good things, so too is piety the 
seed-plot of other virtues. 

55. What, then, shall I say of his economy, a kind of continence regarding 
possessions? For he who takes care of his own does not seek other men's 
goods, nor is he puffed up by abundance who is contented with his own. 
For he did not wish to recover anything except his own, and that rather 
that he might not be cheated than that he might be richer. For he rightly 
called those who seek other men's goods hawks of money. But if avarice 
be the root of all evils, he who does not seek for money has certainly 
stripped himself of vices. 

56. Nor did he ever delight in more carefully prepared feasts or many 
dishes, except when he invited friends, wishing for what was sufficient for 
nature, not for superabundance for pleasure's sake. And, indeed, he was 
not poor in means, but was so in spirit. Certainly we ought by no means 
to doubt of his happiness, who neither as a wealthy man delighted in 
riches, nor as a poor man thought that what he had was scanty. 

57. It remains that, to come to the end of the cardinal virtues, we should 
notice in him the constituents of justice. For although virtues are related to 



433 

each other and connected, still as it were a more distinct sketch of each is 
wanted, and especially of justice. For it being somewhat niggardly towards 
itself is wholly devoted to what is without, and whatever it has through a 
certain rigor towards self, being carried away by love for all, it pours forth 
on its neighbors. 

58. But there are many kinds of this virtue. One towards friends, another 
towards all men, another with respect to the worship of God or the relief 
of the poor. So what he was towards all, the affection of the people of the 
province over which he was set shows; who used to say that he was rather 
their parent than a judge, a kind umpire for loving clients, a steadfast 
awarder of just law. 

59. But what he was with his brother and sister, though all men were 
embraced in his good- will, our undivided patrimony testifies, and the 
inheritance neither distributed nor diminished, but preserved. For he said 
that love was no reason for making a will. This, too, he signified with his 
last words, when commending those whom he had loved, saying that it 
was his choice never to marry a wife, that he might not be separated from 
his brother and sister, and that he would not make a will, lest our feelings 
should in any point be hurt. Lastly, though begged and entreated by us, he 
thought that nothing ought to be determined by himself, not, however, 
forgetting the poor, but only asking that so much should be given to them 
as should seem just to us. 

60. By this alone he gave a sufficient proof of his fear of God, and set an 
example of religious feeling as regards men. For what he gave to the poor 
he offered to God, since "he that distributeth to the poor lendeth unto 
God;" and by requiring what was just, he left them not a little, but the 
whole. For this is the total sum of justice, to sell what one has and give to 
the pool For he who "hath dispersed, and hath given to the poor, his 
righteousness endureth for ever." So he left us as stewards, not heirs; for 
the inheritance is to the heirs a matter of question, the stewardship is a 
duty to the poor. 

61. So that one may rightly say that the Holy Spirit has this day told us 
by the voice of the boy reader: "He that is innocent in his hands and of a 
clean heart, who hath not lifted up his soul to vanity, nor used deceit unto 



434 

his neighbor, this is the generation of them that seek the Lord." He, then, 
shall both ascend into the hill of the Lord and dwell in the tabernacle of 
God; because "he hath walked without spot, he hath worked 
righteousness, he hath spoken truth, he hath not deceived his neighbor;" 
nor did he lend his money for usury, who always wished [no more than] to 
retain that which was inherited. 

62. Why should I relate that in his piety he went beyond mere justice, 
when he, having thought that in consideration of my office something 
ought to be given to the unlawful possessor of our property, declared that 
I was the author of the bounty, but made over the receipts of his own 
share to the common fund. 

63. These and other matters, which were then a pleasure to me, now 
sharpen the remembrance of my grief. They abide, however, and always 
will do so, nor do they ever pass away like a shadow; for the grace of 
virtue dies not with the body, nor do natural life and merits come to an end 
at the same time, although the use of natural life does not perish for ever, 
but rests in a kind of exemption for a time. 

64. For one, then, who has performed such good deeds, and is rescued 
from perils, I shall weep rather from longing for him than for the loss. For 
the very opportuneness of his death bids us bear in mind that we must 
follow him rather with grateful veneration than grieve for him, for it is 
written that private grief should cease in public sorrow. This is said in the 
prophetical language, not only to that one woman, who is figured there, 
but to each, since it seems to be said to the Church. 

65. To me, then, does this message come, and Holy Scripture says: "Dost 
thou teach this, is it thus that thou instructest the people of God? 
Knowest thou not that thy example is a danger to others? save that 
perchance thou complainest that thy prayer is not heard. First of all this is 
shameless arrogance, to desire to obtain for thyself what thou knowest to 
have been denied to many, even saints, when thou art aware that God is no 
respecter of persons?" For although God is merciful, yet if He always 
heard all, He would appear to act no longer of His own free will, but by a 
kind of necessity. Then, since all ask, if He were to hear all, no one would 
die. For how much dost thou daily pray? Is, then, God's appointment to 



435 

be made void in consideration of thee? Why, then, dost thou lament that is 
sometimes not obtained, which thou knowest cannot always be obtained? 

66. "Thou fool," it says, "above all women, seest thou not our mourning, 
and what hath happened to us, how that Sion our mother is saddened with 
all sadness, and humbled with humbling. Mourn now also very sore, since 
we all mourn, and be sad since we all are sad, and thou art grieved for a 
brother. Ask the earth and she shall tell thee that it is she which ought to 
mourn, outliving so many that grow upon her. And out of her," it says, 
"were all born in the beginning, and out of her shall others come, and, 
behold, they walk almost all into destruction, and a multitude of them is 
utterly rooted out. Who, then, ought to make more mourning than she that 
hath lost so great a multitude, and not thou, which art sorry but for one?" 

67. Let, then, the common mourning swallow up ours and cut off the 
bitterness of our private sorrow. For we ought not to grieve for those 
whom we see to be set free, and we bear in mind that so many holy souls 
are not without a purpose at this time loosed from the chains of the body. 
For we see. as if by God's decree, such reverend widows dying so closely 
at one time, that it seems to be a sort of setting out on a journey, not a 
sinking in death, lest their chastity in which they have served God their 
full time should be exposed to peril. What groans, what mourning, does so 
bitter a recollection stir up in me! And if I had no leisure for mourning, yet 
in my own personal grief, in the loss of the very flower of so much merit, 
the common lot of nature consoled me; and my grief in consideration of 
one alone veiled the bitterness of the public funeral by the show of piety 
at home. 

68. 1 seek again, then, O sacred Scripture, thy consolations, for it delights 
me to dwell on thy precepts and on thy sentences. How far more easy is it 
for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one tittle of the law to fail! 
But let us now listen to what is written: "Now," it says, "keep thy sorrow 
to thyself, and bear with a good courage the things which have befallen 
thee. For if thou shall acknowledge the determination of God to be just, 
thou shalt both receive thy son in time, and shalt be praised among 
women." If this is said to a woman, how much more to a priest! If such 
words are said of a son it is certainly not unfitting that they should be 
uttered also concerning the loss of a brother; though if he had been my son 



436 

I could never have loved him more. For as in the death of children, the lost 
labor and the pain borne to no purpose seem to increase the sorrow; so, 
too, in the case of brothers the habits of intercourse and joint occupations 
inflame the bitterness of grief. 

69. But, lo! I hear the Scripture saying: "Do not continue this discourse, 
but allow thyself to be persuaded. For how great are the misfortunes of 
Sion! Be comforted in regard of the sorrow of Jerusalem. For thou seest 
that our holy places are polluted and the name that was called upon us is 
almost profaned, they that are ours have suffered shame, our priests are 
burnt, our Levites gone into captivity, our wives are polluted, our virgins 
suffer violence, our righteous men are carded away, our little ones given 
up, our young men brought in bondage, and our strong men become weak. 
And, which is the greatest of all, the seal of Sion hast lost her glory, since 
now she is delivered into the hands of them that hate us. Do thou, then, 
shake off thy great heaviness, and put from thee the multitude of sorrows, 
that the Mighty may be merciful to thee again, and the Highest shall give 
thee rest by casing thy labors." 

70. So, then, my tears shall cease, for one must yield to healthful remedies, 
since there ought to be some difference between believers and unbelievers. 
Let them, therefore, weep who cannot have the hope of the resurrection, of 
which not the sentence of God but the strictness of the faith deprives 
them. Let there be this difference between the servants of Christ and the 
worshippers of idols, that the latter weep for their friends, whom they 
suppose to have perished for ever; that they should never cease from tears, 
and gain no rest from sorrow, who think that the dead have no rest. But 
from us, for whom death is the end not of our nature but of this life only, 
since our nature itself is restored to a better state, let the advent of death 
wipe away all tears. 

7 1 . And certainly if they have ever found any consolation who have 
thought that death is the end of sensation and the failing of our nature, how 
much more must we find it so to whom the consciousness of good done 
brings the promise of better rewards! The heathen have their consolation, 
because they think that death is a cessation of all evils, and as they are 
without the fruit of life, so, too, they think that they have escaped all the 
feeling and pain of those severe and constant sufferings which we have to 



437 

endure in this life. We, however, as we are better supported by our 
rewards, so, too, ought we to he more patient through our consolation, for 
they seem to be not lost but sent before, whom death is not going to 
swallow up, but eternity to receive. 

72. My tears shall therefore cease, or if they cannot cease, I will weep for 
thee, my brother, in the common sorrow, and will hide my private groaning 
in the public grief. For how can my tears wholly cease, since they break 
forth at every utterance of thy name, or when my very habitual actions 
arouse thy memory, or when my affection pictures thy likeness, or when 
recollection renews my grief. For how canst thou be absent who art again 
made present in so many occupations? Thou art present, I say, and art 
always brought before me, and with my whole mind and soul do I embrace 
thee, gaze upon thee, address thee, kiss thee; I grasp thee whether in the 
gloomy night or in the clear light, when thou vouch-safest to revisit and 
console me sorrowing. And now the very nights which used to seem 
irksome in thy lifetime, because they denied us the power of looking on 
each other; and sleep itself, lately, the odious interrupter of our converse, 
have commenced to be sweet, because they restore thee to me. They, then, 
are not wretched but blessed whose mutual presence fails not, whose care 
for each other is not lessened, whose mutual esteem is increased. For sleep 
is a likeness and image of death. 

73. But if, in the quiet of night, our souls still cleaving to the chains of the 
body, and as it were bound within the prison bars of the limbs, yet are able 
to see higher and separate things, how much more do they see these, when 
in their pure and heavenly senses they suffer from no hindrances of bodily 
weakness. And so when, as a certain evening was drawing on, I was 
complaining that thou didst not revisit me when at rest, thou wast wholly 
present always. So that, as I lay with my limbs bathed in sleep, while I 
was [in mind] awake for thee, thou wast alive to me, I could say, "What is 
death, my brother?" For certainly thou wast not separated from me for a 
single moment, for thou wast so present with me everywhere, that 
enjoyment of each other, which we were unable to have in the intercourse 
of this life, is now always and everywhere with us. For at that time 
certainly all things could not be present, for neither did our physical 
constitution allow it, nor could the sight of each other, nor the sweetness 
of our bodily embraces at all times and in all places be enjoyed. But the 



438 

pictures in our souls were always present with us, even when we were not 
together, and these have not come to an end, but constantly come back to 
us, and the greater the longing the greater abundance have we of them. 

74. So, then, I hold thee, my brother, and neither death nor time shall tear 
thee from me. Tears themselves are sweet, and weeping itself a pleasure, 
for by these the eagerness of the soul is assuaged, and affection being eased 
is quieted. For neither can I be without thee, nor ever forget thee, or think 
of thee without tears. O bitter days, which show that our union is broken! 
O nights worthy of tears, which have lost for me so good a sharer of my 
rest, so inseparable a companion! What sufferings would ye cause me, 
unless the likeness of him present offered itself to me, unless the visions of 
my soul represented him whom my bodily sight shows me no more! 

75. Now, now, O brother, dearest to my soul, although thou art gone by 
too early a death, happy at least art thou, who dost not endure these 
sorrows, and art not compelled to mourn the loss of a brother, separation 
from whom thou couldst not long endure, but didst quickly return and visit 
him again. But if then thou didst hasten to banish the weariness of my 
loneliness, to lighten the sadness of thy brother's mind, how much more 
often oughtest thou now to revisit my afflicted soul, and thyself lighten 
the sorrow which has its origin from thee! 

76. But the exercise of my office now bids me rest awhile, and attention to 
my priestly duties draws my mind away; but what will happen to my 
holy sister, who though she moderates her affection by the fear of God, 
yet again kindles the grief itself of the affection by the zeal of her 
devotion? Prostrate on the ground, embracing her brother's tomb, wearied 
with toilsome walking, sad in spirit, day and night she renews her grief. 
For though she often breaks off her weeping by speech, she renews it in 
prayer; and although in her knowledge of her Scriptures she excels those 
who bring consolation, she makes up for her desire of weeping by the 
constancy of her prayers, renewing the abundance of her tears then chiefly, 
when no one can interrupt her. So thou hast that which thou mayest pity, 
not what thou mayest blame, for to weep in prayer is a sign of virtue. And 
although that be a common thing with virgins, whose softer sex and more 
tender affection abound in tears at the sight of the common weakness, even 



439 

without the feeling of family grief, yet when there is a greater cause for 
sorrowing, no limit is set to that sorrow. 

77. The means of consolation, then, are wanting since excuses abound. For 
thou canst not forbid that which thou teachest, especially when she 
attributes her tears to devotion, not to sorrow, and conceals the course of 
the common grief for fear of shame. Console her, therefore, thou who canst 
approach her soul, and penetrate her mind. Let her perceive that thou art 
present, feel that thou art not departed, that having enjoyed his 
consolation of whose merit she is assured, she may learn not to grieve 
heavily for him, who warned her that he was not to be mourned for. 

78. But why should I delay thee, brother, why should I wait that my 
address should die and as it were be buried with thee? Although the sight 
and form of thy lifeless body, and its remaining comeliness and figure 
abiding here, comfort the eyes, I delay no longer, let us go on to the tomb. 
But first, before the people I utter the last farewell, declare peace to thee, 
and pay the last kiss. Go before us to that home, common and waiting for 
all, and certainly now longed for by me beyond others. Prepare a common 
dwelling for him with whom thou hast dwelt, and as here we have had all 
things in common, so there, too, let us know no divided rights. 

79. Do not, I pray thee, long put off him who is desirous of thee, expect 
him who is hastening after thee, help him who is hurrying, and if I seem to 
thee to delay too long, summon me. For we have not ever been long 
separated from each other, but thou wast always wont to return. Nor since 
thou canst not return again, I will go to thee; it is just that I should repay 
the kindness and take my turn. Never was there much difference in the 
condition of our life; whether health or sickness, it was common to both, 
so that if one sickened the other fell ill, and when one began to recover, the 
other, too, was convalescent. How have we lost our rights? This time, too, 
we had our sickness in common, how is it that death was not ours in 
common? 

80. And now to Thee, Almighty God, I commend this guileless soul, to 
Thee I offer my sacrifice; accept favorably and mercifully the gift of a 
brother, the offering of a priest. I offer beforehand these first libations of 
myself. I come to Thee with this pledge, a pledge not of money but of life, 



440 

cause me not to remain too long a debtor of such an amount. It is not the 
ordinary interest of a brother's love, nor the common course of nature, 
which is increased by such an amount of virtue. I can bear it, if I shall be 
soon compelled to pay it. 



441 

BOOK II 

ON THE BELIEF IN THE RESURRECTION 



1 . In the former book I indulged my longing to some extent, lest too sharp 
remedies applied to a burning wound might rather increase than assuage the 
pain. And as at the same time I often addressed my brother, and had him 
before my eyes, it was not out of place to let natural feelings have a little 
play, since they are somewhat satisfied by tears, soothed by weeping, and 
numbed by a shock. For the outward expression of affection is of a soft 
and tender nature, it loves nothing extravagant, nothing stern, nothing hard; 
and patience is proved by enduring rather than by resisting. 

2. So, since the death-day might well, lately, by the sad spectacle draw 
aside the mind of a brother, because it occupied him wholly, now, 
inasmuch as on the seventh day, the symbol of the future rest, we return 
to the grave, it is profitable to turn our thoughts somewhat from my 
brother to a general exhortation addressed to all, and to give our attention 
to this; so as neither to cling to my brother with all our minds, lest our 
feelings overcome us, nor forgetting such devotion and desert, to turn 
wholly away from him; and in truth we should but increase the suffering of 
our intense grief, if his death were again the subject of to-day's address. 

3. Wherefore we propose, dearest brethren, to console ourselves with the 
common course of nature, and not to think anything hard which awaits all. 
And therefore we deem that death is not to be mourned over; firstly, 
because it is common and due to all; next, because it frees us from the 
miseries of this lie and, lastly, because when in the likeness of sleep we are 
at rest from the toils of this world, a more lively vigor is shed upon us. 
What grief is there which the grace of the Resurrection does not console? 
What sorrow is not excluded by the belief that nothing perishes in death? 
nay, indeed, that by the hastening of death it comes to pass that much is 
preserved from perishing. So it will happen, dearest brethren, that in our 
general exhortation we shall turn our affections to my brother, and shall 
not seem to have wandered too far from him, if through hope of the 



442 

Resurrection and the sweetness of future glory even in our discourse he 
should live again for us. 

4. Let us then begin at this point, that we show that the departure of our 
loved ones should not be mourned by us. For what is more absurd than to 
deplore as though it were a special misfortune, what one knows is 
appointed unto all? This were to lift up the mind above the condition of 
men, not to accept the common law, to reject the fellowship of nature, to 
be puffed up in a fleshly mind, and not to recognize the measure of the 
flesh itself. What is more absurd than not to recognize what one is, to 
pretend to be what one is not? Or what can be a sign of less forethought 
than to be unable to bear, when it has happened, what one knew was going 
to happen? Nature herself calls us back, and draws us aside froth sorrow 
of this sort by a kind of consolation of her own. For what so deep 
mourning is there, or so bitter grief, in which the mind is not at times 
relieved? For human nature has this peculiarity, that although men may be 
in sad circumstances, yet if only they be men, they sometimes turn their 
thoughts a little away from sadness. 

5. It is said, indeed, that there have been certain tribes who mourned at the 
birth of human beings, and kept festival at their deaths, and this not 
without reason, for they thought that those who had entered upon this 
ocean of life should be mourned over, but that they who had escaped from 
the waves and storms of this world should be accompanied by rejoicing 
not without good reason. And we too forget the birthdays of the departed, 
and commemorate with festal solemnity the day on which they died. 

6. Therefore, in accordance with nature, excessive grief must not be yielded 
to, test we should seem either to claim for ourselves either an exceptional 
superiority of nature, or to reject the common lot. For death is alike to all, 
without difference for the poor, without exception for the rich. And so 
although through the sin of one alone, yet it passed upon all; that we may 
not refuse to acknowledge Him to be also the Author of death, Whom we 
do not refuse to acknowledge as the Author of our race; and that, as 
through one death is ours, so should be also the resurrection; and that we 
should not refuse the misery, that we may attain to the gift. For, as we 
read, Christ "is come to save that which was lost," and "to be Lord both of 
the dead and living." In Adam I fell, in Adam I was cast out of Paradise, in 



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Adam I died; how shall the Lord call me back, except He find me in Adam; 
guilty as I was in him, so now justified in Christ. If, then, death be the debt 
of all, we must be able to endure the payment. But this topic must be 
reserved for later treatment. 

7. It is now our purpose to demonstrate that death ought not to cause too 
heavy grief, because nature itself rejects this. And so they say that there 
was a law among the Lycians, commanding that men who gave way to grief 
should be clothed in female apparel, inasmuch as they judged mourning to 
be soft and effeminate in a man. And it is inconsistent that those who 
ought to offer their breast to death for the faith, for religion, for their 
country, for righteous judgment, and the endeavor after virtue, should 
grieve too bitterly for that in the case of others which, if a fitting cause 
required, they would seek for themselves. For how can one help shrinking 
from that in ourselves which one mourns with too little patience when it 
has happened to others? Put aside your grief, if you can; if you cannot, 
keep it to yourself. 

8. Is, then, all sorrow to be kept within or repressed? Why should not 
reason rather than time lighten one's sadness? Shall not wisdom better 
assuage that which the passage of time will obliterate? Further, it seems to 
me that it is a want of due feeling with regard to the memory of those 
whose loss we mourn, when we prefer to forget them rather than that our 
sorrow should be lessened by consolation; and to shrink from the 
recollection of them, rather than remember them with thankfulness; that 
we fear the calling to mind of those whose image in our hearts ought to be a 
delight; that we are rather distrustful than hopeful regarding the acceptance 
of the departed, and think of those we loved rather as liable to punishment 
than as heirs of immortality. 

9. But you may say: We have lost those whom we used to love. Is not this 
the common lot of ourselves and the earth and elements, that we cannot 
keep for ever what has been entrusted to us for a time? The earth groans 
under the plough, is lashed by rains, struck by tempests, bound by cold, 
burnt by the sun, that it may bring forth its yearly fruits; and when it has 
clothed itself with a variety of flowers, it is stripped and spoiled of its 
own adornment. How many plunderers it has! And it does not complain of 
the loss of its fruits, to which it gave birth that it might lose them, nor 



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thereafter does it refuse to produce what it remembers will be taken from 
it. 

10. The heavens themselves do not always shine with the globes of 
twinkling stars, wherewith as with coronets they are adorned. They are 
not always growing bright with the dawn of light, or ruddy with the rays 
of the sun; but in constant succession that most pleasing appearance of the 
world grows dark with the damp chill of night. What is more grateful than 
the light? what more pleasant than the sun? each of which daily comes to 
an end; yet we do not take it ill that these have passed away from us, 
because we expect them to return. Thou art taught in these things what 
patience thou oughtest to manifest with regard to those who belong to 
thee. If things above pass away from thee, and cause no grief, why should 
the passing away of man be mourned? 

1 1 . Let, then, grief be patient, let there be that moderation in adversity 
which is required in prosperity. If it be not seemly to rejoice 
immoderately, is it seemly so to mourn? For want of moderation in grief or 
fear of death is no small evil. How many has it driven to the halter, in how 
many hands has it placed the sword, that they might by that very means 
demonstrate their madness in not enduring death, and yet seeking it; in 
adopting that as a remedy which they flee from as an evil. And because 
they were unable to endure and to suffer what is in agreement with their 
nature, they fall into that which is contrary to their desire, being separated 
for ever from those whom they desired to follow. But this is not common, 
since nature herself restrains although madness drives men on. 

12. But it is common with women to make public wailing, as though they 
feared that their misery might not be known. They affect soiled clothing, 
as though the feeling of sorrow consisted therein; they moisten their 
unkempt hair with filth; and lastly, which is done habitually in many 
places, with their clothing torn and their dress rent in two, they prostitute 
their modesty in nakedness, as if they were ready to sacrifice that modesty 
because they have lost that which was its reward. And so wanton eyes are 
excited, and lust after those naked limbs, which were they not made bare 
they would not desire. Would that those filthy garments covered the mind 
rather than the bodily form. Lasciviousness of mind is often hidden under 



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sad clothing, and the unseemly rudeness of dress is used as a covering to 
hide the secrets of wanton spirits. 

13. She mourns for her husband with sufficient devotion who preserves 
her modesty and does not give up her constancy. The best duties to 
discharge to the departed are that they live in our memories and continue in 
our affection. She has not lost her husband who manifests her chastity, nor 
is she widowed as regards her union who has not changed her husband's 
name. Nor hast thou lost the heir when thou assistest the joint- heir, but in 
exchange for a successor in perishable things thou hast a sharer in things 
eternal. Thou hast one to represent thine heir, pay to the poor what was 
due to the heir, that there may remain one to survive, not only the old age 
of father or mother, but thine own life. Thou leavest thy successor all the 
more, if his share conduce not to luxury in things present, but to the 
purchasing of things to come. 

14. But we long for those whom we have lost. For two things specially 
pain us: either the longing for those we have lost, which I experience in my 
own case; or that we think them deprived of the sweetness of life, and 
snatched away from the fruits of their toil. For there is a tender movement 
of love, which suddenly kindles the affection, so as to have the effect 
rather of soothing than of hindering the pain; inasmuch as it seems a dutiful 
thing to long for what one has lost, and so under an appearance of virtue 
weakness increases. 

15. But why dost thou think that she who has sent her beloved to foreign 
parts, and because of military service, or of undertaking some office, or has 
discovered that for the purpose of commerce he has crossed the sea, ought 
to be more patient than thou who art left, not because of some chance 
decision or desire of money, but by the law of nature? But, you say, the 
hope of regaining him is shut out. As though the return of any one were 
certain! And oftentimes doubt wearies the mind more where the fear of 
danger is strong; and it is more burdensome to fear lest something should 
happen than to bear what one already knows has happened. For the one 
increases the amount of fear, the other looks forward to the end of its grief. 

16. But masters have the right to transfer their slaves whithersoever they 
determine. Has not God this right? It is not granted to us to look for their 



446 

return, but it is granted us to follow those gone before. And certainly the 
usual shortness of life seems neither to have deprived them of much who 
have gone before, nor to delay very long him who remains. 

17. But if one cannot mitigate one's grief, does it not seem unbecoming to 
wish that because of our longing the whole course of things should be 
upset? The longings of lovers are certainly more intense, and yet they are 
tempered by regard to what is necessary; and though they grieve at being 
forsaken they are not wont to mourn, rather being deserted they blush at 
loving too hastily. And so patience in regret is all the more manifested. 

18. But what shall I say of those who think that the departed are deprived 
of the sweetness of life? There can be no real sweetness in the midst of the 
bitternesses and pains of this life, which are caused either by the infirmity 
of the body itself, or by the discomfort of things happening from without. 
For we are always anxious and in suspense as to our wishes for happier 
circumstances; we waver in uncertainty, our hope setting before us 
doubtful things for certain, inconvenient for satisfactory, things that will 
fail for what is firm, and we have neither any strength in our will nor 
certainty in our wishes. But if anything happens against our wish, we 
think we are lost, and are rather broken down by pain at adversity than 
cheered by the enjoyment of prosperity. What good, then, are they 
deprived of who are rather freed from troubles? 

19. Good health, I doubt not, is more beneficial to us than bad health is 
hurtful. Riches bring more delights than poverty annoyance, the 
satisfaction in children's love is greater than the sorrow at their loss, and 
youth is more pleasant than old age is sad. How often is the attainment of 
one's wishes a weariness, and what one has longed for a regret; so that one 
grieves at having obtained what one was not afraid of obtaining. But what 
fatherland, what pleasures, can compensate for exile and the bitterness of 
other penalties? For even when we have these, the pleasure is weakened 
either by the disinclination to use or by the fear of losing them. 

20. But suppose that some one remains unharmed, free from grief, in 
uninterrupted enjoyment of the pleasures of the whole course of man's 
life, what comfort can the soul attain to, enclosed in the bonds of a body of 
such a kind, and restrained by the narrow limits of the limbs? If our flesh 



447 

shrinks from prison, if it abhors everything which denies it the power of 
roaming about; when it seems, indeed, to be always going forth, with its 
little powers of hearing or seeing what is beyond itself, how much more 
does our soul desire to escape from that prison-house of the body, which, 
being free with movement like the air, goes whither we know not, and 
comes whence we know not. 

21. We know, however, that it survives the body, and that being set free 
from the bars of the body, it sees with clear gaze those things which 
before, dwelling in the body, it could not see. And we are able to judge of 
this by the instance of those who have visions of things absent and even 
heavenly in sleep (whose minds, when the body is as it were buried in 
sleep, rise to higher things and relate them to the body). So, then, if death 
frees us from the miseries of this world, it is certainly no evil, inasmuch as 
it restores liberty and excludes suffering. 

22. At this point the right place occurs for arguing that death is not an evil, 
because it is the refuge from all miseries and all evils, a safe harbor of 
security, and a haven of rest. For what adversity is there which we do not 
experience in this life? What storms and tempests do we not suffer? by 
what discomforts are we not harassed? whose merits are spared? 

23. The holy patriarch Israel fled from his country, was exiled from his 
father, relatives, and home, he mourned over the shame of his daughter and 
the death of his son, he endured famine, when dead he lost his own grave, 
for he entreated that his bones should be translated, a lest even in death he 
should find rest. 

24. Holy Joseph experienced the hatred of his brethren, the guile of those 
who envied him, the service of slavery, the mastership of merchantmen, 
the wantonness of his mistress, the ignorance of her husband, and the 
misery of prison. 

25. Holy David lost two sons; the one incestuous, the other a parricide. To 
have had them was a disgrace, to have lost them a grief. And he lost a third, 
the infant whom he loved. Him he wept for while still alive, but did not 
long for when dead. For so we read, that, while the child was sick, David 
entreated the Lord for him, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and when the 
elders came near to raise him from the earth, he would neither rise nor eat. 



448 

But when he heard that the child was dead, he changed his clothes, 
worshipped God, and took food. When this seemed strange to his 
servants, he answered that he had rightly fasted and wept while the child 
was alive, because he justly thought that God might have mercy, and it 
could not be doubted that He could preserve the life of one alive Who 
could give life to the departed, but now, when death had taken place, why 
should he fast, for he could not now bring back him that was dead, and 
recall him who was lifeless. "I," said he, "shall go to him, but he shall not 
return to me." 

26. O greatest consolation for him who mourns! O true judgment of a wise 
man! O wonderful wisdom of one who is a bond-man! that none should 
take it ill that anything adverse has happened to him, or complain that he 
is afflicted contrary to his deserts. For who art thou who beforehand 
proclaimest thy deserts? Why desirest thou to anticipate Him Who takes 
cognizance of all? Why dost thou snatch away the verdict from Him Who 
is going to judge? This is permitted not even to the saints, nor has it ever 
been done by the saints with impunity. David confesses that he was 
scourged for this in his psalm: "Behold, these are the ungodly, who 
prosper in the world, they have obtained riches. Therefore I have cleansed 
my heart in vain, and washed my hands among the innocent; and I was 
scourged all the day long, and my accusation came every morning." 

27. Peter also, though full of faith and devotion, yet because, not yet 
conscious of our common weakness, he had presumptuously said to the 
Lord, "I will lay down my life for Thy sake," fell into the trial of his 
presumption before the cock crowed thrice. Although, indeed, that trial 
was a lesson for our salvation, that we might learn not to think little of the 
weakness of the flesh, lest through thus thinking little of it we should be 
tempted. If Peter was tempted, who can presume? who can maintain that 
he cannot be tempted? And without doubt for our sakes was Peter 
tempted, so that, the proving of the temptation did not take place in a 
stronger than he, but that in him we should learn how, resisting in 
temptations, although tried even by care for our lives, we might yet 
overcome the sting of the temptation with tears of patience. 

28. But that same David, that the difference of his actions may not 
perhaps disturb those who cling to the words of Scripture; that same 



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David, I say, who had not wept for the innocent infant, wept for the 
parricide when dead. For at the last, when he was wailing and mourning, he 
said, "O my son Absalom, my son Absalom! Who will grant me to die for 
thee!" But not only is Absalom the parricide wept over, Amnon is wept 
over; not only is the incestuous wept over, but is even avenged; the one by 
the scorn of the kingdom, the other by the exile of his brothers. The 
wicked is wept over, not the innocent. What is the cause? What is the 
reason? There is no little deliberation with the prudent and confirmation of 
results with the wise; for there is great consistency of prudence in so great 
a difference of actions, but the belief is one. He wept for those who were 
dead, but did not think that he ought to weep for the dead infant, for he 
thought that they were lost to him, but hoped that the latter would rise 
again. 

29. But concerning the Resurrection more will be said later on; let us now 
return to our immediate subject. We have set forth that even holy men 
have without any consideration for their merits, suffered many and heavy 
things in this world, together with toil and misery. So David, entering into 
himself, says: "Remember; Lord, that we are dust; as for man, his days are 
but as grass;" and in another place: "Man is like to vanity, his days pass 
away as a shadow." For what is more wretched than we, who are sent into 
this life as it were plundered and naked, with frail bodies, deceitful hearts, 
weak minds, anxious in respect of cares, slothful as to labor, prone to 
pleasures. 

30. Not to be born is then by far the best, according to Solomon's 
sentence. For they also who have seemed to themselves to excel most in 
philosophy have followed him. For he, before these philosophers in time, 
but later than many of our writers, spoke thus in Ecclesiastes: "And I 
praised all the departed, which are already dead, more than the living, who 
are yet alive. And better than both they is he who hath not yet been born, 
and who hath not seen this evil work which hath been done under the sun. 
And I saw all travail, and all the good of this labor, that for this a man is 
envied of his neighbor. And, indeed, this is vanity and vexation of spirit." 

3 1 . And who said this but he who asked for and obtained wisdom, to 
know how the world was made, and the power of the elements, the course 
of the year, and the dispositions of stars, to be acquainted with the natures 



450 

of living creatures, the furies of wild beasts, and the violence of winds, and 
to understand the thoughts of man! How, then, should mortal matters be 
hidden from him, from whom heavenly things were not hidden? He who 
penetrated the thoughts of the woman who was claiming the child of 
another, who by the inspiration of divine grace knew the natures of living 
creatures which he did not share; could he err or say what was untrue with 
regard to the circumstances of that nature, which he found in his own 
personal experience? 

32. But Solomon was not the only person who felt this, though he alone 
gave expression to it. He had read the words of holy Job: "Let the day 
perish wherein I was born." Job had recognized that to be born is the 
beginning of all woes, and therefore wished that the day on which he was 
born might perish, so that the origin of all troubles might be removed, and 
wished that the day of his birth might perish that he might receive the day 
of resurrection. For Solomon had heard his father's saying: "Lord, make 
me to know mine end, and the number of my days, that I may know what 
is lacking unto me." For David knew that what is perfect cannot be 
grasped here, and therefore hastened on to those things which are to come. 
For now we know in part, and understand in part, but then it will be 
possible for that which is perfect to be grasped, when not the shadow but 
the reality of the Divine Majesty and eternity shall begin to shine so as to 
be gazed upon by us with unveiled face. 

33. But no one would hasten to the end, except he were fleeing from the 
discomfort of this life. And so David also explained why he hastened to 
the end, when he said: "Behold Thou hast made my days old, and my 
being is as nothing before Thee, surely all things are vanity, even every 
man that liveth." Why, then, do we hesitate to flee from vanity? Or why 
does it please us to be troubled to no purpose in this world, to lay up 
treasures, and not know for what heir we are gathering them? Let us pray 
that troubles be removed from us, that we be taken out of this foolish 
world, that we may be free from our daily pilgrimage, and return to that 
country and our natural home. For on this earth we are strangers and 
foreigners; we have to return thither whence we have come down, we must 
strive and pray not perfunctorily but earnestly to be delivered from the 
guile and wickedness of men full of words. And he who knew the remedy 
groaned that his sojourn was prolonged, and that he must dwell with the 



451 

unjust and sinners. What shall I do, who both am sinful and know not the 
remedy? 

34. Jeremiah also bewails his birth in these words: "Woe is me, my 
mother! Why hast thou borne me a man of contention in all the earth? I 
have not benefited others, nor has any one benefited me, my strength hath 
failed." If, then, holy men shrink from life whose life, though profitable to 
us, is esteemed unprofitable to themselves; what ought we to do who am 
not able to profit others, and who feel that it, like money borrowed at 
interest, grows more heavily weighted every day with an increasing mass 
of sins? 

35. "I die daily," says the Apostle. Better certainly is this saying than 
theirs who said that meditation on death was true philosophy, for they 
praised the study, he exercised the practice of death. And they acted for 
themselves only, but Paul, himself perfect, died not for his own weakness 
but for ours. But what is meditation on death but a kind of separation of 
body and soul, for death itself is defined as nothing else than the 
separation of body and soul? But this is in accordance with common 
opinion. 

36. But according to the Scriptures we have been taught that death is 
threefold. One death is when we die to sin, but live to God. Blessed, then, 
is that death which, escaping from sin, and devoted to God, separates us 
from what is mortal and consecrates us to Him Who is immortal. Another 
death is the departure from this life, as the patriarch Abraham died, and the 
patriarch David, and were buried with their fathers; when the soul is set 
free from the bonds of the body. The third death is that of which it is said: 
"Leave the dead to bury their own dead." In that death not only the flesh 
but also the soul dies, for "the soul that sinneth, it shall die." For it dies to 
the Lord, through the weakness not of nature but of guilt. But this death is 
not the discharge from this life, but a fall through error. 

37. Spiritual death, then, is one thing, natural death another, a third the 
death of punishment. But that which is natural is not also penal, for the 
Lord did not inflict death as a penalty, but as a remedy. And to Adam 
when he sinned, one thing was appointed as a penalty, another for a 
remedy, when it was said: "Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of 



452 

thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I had commanded thee that of 
it alone thou shouldst not eat, cursed is the ground in thy labor; in sorrow 
shalt thou eat its fruit all the days of thy life. Thorns and thistles shall it 
bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of 
thy face shalt thou eat thy bread, till thou return to the earth from which 
thou wast taken." 

38. Here you have the days of rest from penalties, for they contain the 
punishment decreed against the thorns of tiffs life, the cares of the world, 
and the pleasures of riches which shut out the Word. Death is given for a 
remedy, because it is the end of evils. For God said not, "Because thou 
hast hearkened to the voice of the woman thou shalt return to the earth," 
for this would have been a penal sentence, as this one is, "The earth under 
curse shall bring forth thorns and thistles to thee;" but He said: "In sweat 
shall thou eat thy bread until thou return to the earth." You see that death 
is rather the goal of our penalties, by which an end is put to the course of 
this life. 

39. So, then, death is not only not an evil, but is even a good thing. So that 
it is sought as a good, as it is written: "Men shall seek death and shall not 
find it." They will seek it who shall say to the mountains: "Fall on us, and 
to the hills, Cover us." That soul, too, shall seek it which has sinned. That 
rich man lying in hell shall seek it, who wishes that his tongue should be 
cooled with the finger of Lazarus. 

40. We see, then, that this death is a gain and life a penalty, so that Paul 
says: "To me to live is Christ and to die is gain." What is Christ but the 
death of the body, the breath of life? And so let us die with Him, that we 
may live with Him. Let there then be in us as it were a daily practice and 
inclination to dying, that by this separation from bodily desires, of which 
we have spoken, our soul may learn to withdraw itself, and, as it were 
placed on high, when earthly lusts cannot approach and attach it to 
themselves, may take upon herself the likeness of death, that she incur not 
the penalty of death. For the law of the flesh wars against the law of the 
mind, and makes it over to the law of error, as the Apostle has made 
known to us, saying: "For I see a law of the flesh in my members warring 
against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity in the law of 



453 

sin." We are all attached, we all feel this; but we are not all delivered. And 
so a miserable man am I, unless I seek the remedy. 

41. But what remedy? "Who shall deliver me out of the body of this 
death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord." We have a 
physician, let us use the remedy. Our remedy is the grace of Christ, and 
the body of death is our body. Let us therefore be as strangers to our 
body, lest we be strangers to Christ. Though we are in the body, let us not 
follow the things which are of the body, let us not reject the rightful claims 
of nature, but desire before all the gifts of grace: "For to be dissolved and 
to be with Christ is far better; yet to abide in the flesh is more needful for 
your sakes." 

42. But this need is not the case of all, Lord Jesus; it is not so with me, 
who am profitable to none; for to me death is a gain, that I may sin no 
more. To die is gain to me, who, in the very treatise in which I comfort 
others, am incited as it were by an intense impulse to the longing for my 
lost brother, since it suffers me not to forget him. Now I love him more, 
and long for him more intensely. I long for him when I speak, I long for 
him when I read again what I have written, and I think that I am more 
impelled to write this, that I may not ever be without the recollection of 
him. And in this I am not acting contrary to Scripture, but I am of the same 
mind with Scripture, that I may grieve with more patience, and long with 
greater intensity. 

43. Thou hast caused me, my brother, not to fear death, and I only would 
that my life might die with thine! This Balaam wished for as the greatest 
good for himself, when, inspired by the spirit of prophecy, he said: "Let 
my soul die in the souls of the righteous, and let my seed be like the seed 
of them." And in truth he wished this according to the spirit of prophecy, 
for as he saw the rising of Christ, so also he saw His triumph, he saw His 
death, but saw also in Him the everlasting resurrection of men, and 
therefore feared not to die as he was to rise again. Let not then my soul die 
in sin, nor admit sin into itself, but let it die in the soul of the righteous, 
that it may receive his righteousness. Then, too, he who dies in Christ, is 
made a partaker of His grace in the Font. 



454 

44. Death is not, then, an object of dread, nor bitter to those in need, nor 
too bitter to the rich, nor unkind to the old, nor a mark of cowardice to the 
brave, nor everlasting to the faithful nor unexpected to the wise. For how 
many have consecrated their life by the renown of their death alone, how 
many have been ashamed to live, and have found death a gain! We have 
read how often by the death of one great nations have been delivered; the 
armies of the enemy have been put to flight by the death of the general, 
who had been unable to conquer them when alive. 

45. By the death of martyrs religion has been defended, faith increased, the 
Church strengthened; the dead have conquered, the persecutors have been 
overcome. And so we celebrate the death of those of whose lives we are 
ignorant. So, too, David rejoiced in prophecy at the departure of his own 
soul, saying: "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." 
He esteemed death better than life. The death itself of the martyrs is the 
prize of their life. And again, by the death of those at variance hatred is 
put an end to. 

46. Why should more be said? By the death of One the world was 
redeemed. For Christ, had He Willed, need not have died, but He neither 
thought that death should be shunned as though there were any cowardice 
in it, nor could He have saved us better than by dying. And so His death is 
the life of all. We are signed with the sign of His death, we show forth His 
death when we pray; when we offer the Sacrifice we declare His death, for 
His death is victory, His death is our mystery, His death is the yearly 
recurring solemnity of the world. What now should we say concerning His 
death, since we prove by this Divine Example that death alone found 
immortality, and that death itself redeemed itself. Death, then, is not to be 
mourned over, for it is the cause of salvation for all; death is not to be 
shunned, for the Son of God did not think it unworthy of Him, and did not 
shun it. The order of nature is not to be loosed, for what is common to all 
cannot admit of exception in individuals. 

47. And, indeed, death was no part of man's nature, but became natural; 
for God did not institute death at first, but gave it as a remedy. Let us then 
take heed that it do not seem to be the opposite. For if death is a good, 
why is it written that "God made not death, but by the malice of men 
death entered into the world"? For of a truth death was no necessary part 



455 

of the divine operation, since for those who were placed in paradise a 
continual succession of all good things streamed forth; but because of 
transgression the life of man, condemned to lengthened labor, began to be 
wretched with intolerable groaning; so that it was fitting that an end should 
be set to the evils, and that death should restore what life had lost. For 
immortality, unless grace breathed upon it, would be rather a burden than 
an advantage. 

48. And if one consider accurately, it is not the death of our being, but of 
evil, for being continues, it is evil that perishes. That which has been rises 
again; would that as it is now free from sinning, so it were without former 
guilt! But this very thing is a proof that it is not the death of being, that we 
shall be the same persons as we were. And so we shall either pay the 
penalty of our sins, or attain to the reward of our good deeds. For the same 
being will rise again, now more honorable for having paid the tax of death. 
And then "the dead who are in Christ shall rise first; then, too, we who are 
alive," it is said, "shall together with them be caught up in the clouds into 
the air to meet the Lord, and so we shall always be with the Lord." They 
first, but those that are alive second. They with Jesus, those that are alive 
through Jesus. To them life will be sweeter after rest, and though the living 
will have a delightful gain, yet they will be without experience of the 
remedy. 

49. There is, then, nothing for us to fear in death, nothing for us to mourn, 
whether life which was received from nature be rendered up to her again, or 
whether it be sacrificed to some duty which claims it, and this will be 
either an act of religion or the exercise of some virtue. And no one ever 
wished to remain as at present. This has been supposed to have been 
promised to John, but it is not the truth. We hold fast to the words, and 
deduce the meaning from them. He himself in his own writing denies that 
there was a promise that he should not die, that no one from that instance 
might yield to an empty hope. But if to wish for this would be an 
extravagant hope, how much more extravagant were it to grieve without 
rule for what has happened according to rule! 

50. The heathen mostly console themselves with the thought, either of the 
common misery, or of the law of nature, or of the immortality of the soul. 
And would that their utterances were consistent, and that they did not 



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transmit the wretched soul into a number of ludicrous monstrosities and 
figures! But what ought we to do, whose reward is the resurrection, though 
many, not being able to deny the greatness of this gift, refuse to believe in 
it? And for this reason will we maintain it, not by one casual argument 
only, but by as many as we are able. 

51. All things, indeed, are believed to be, either because of experience, or 
on grounds of reason, or from similar instances, or because it is fitting that 
they be, and each of these supports our belief. Experience teaches us that 
we are moved; reason, that which moves us must be considered the 
property of another power; similar instances show that the field has borne 
crops, and therefore we expect that it will continue to bear them. Fitness, 
because even where we do not think that there will be results, yet we 
believe that it is by no means fitting to give up the works of virtue. 

52. Each, then, is supported by each. But belief in the resurrection is 
inferred most clearly on three grounds, in which all are included. These are 
reason, analogy from universal example, and the evidence of what has 
happened, since many have risen. Reason is clear. For since the whole 
course of our life consists in the union of body and soul, and the 
resurrection brings with it either the reward of good works, or the 
punishment of wicked ones, it is necessary that the body, whose actions 
are weighed, rise again. For how shall the soul be summoned to judgment 
without the body, when account has to be rendered of the companionship 
of itself and the body? 

53. Rising again is the lot of all, but there is a difficulty in believing this, 
because it is not due to our deserts, but is the gift of God. The first 
argument for the resurrection is the course of the world, and the condition 
of all things, the series of generations, the changes in the way of 
succession, the setting and rising of constellations, the ending of day and 
night, and their daily succession coming as it were again to life. And no 
other reason can exist for the fertile temperament of this earth, but that the 
divine order restores by the dews of night as much of that moisture from 
which all earthly things are produced, as the heat of the sun dries up by 
day. Why should I speak of the fruits of the earth? Do they not seem to 
die when they fall, to rise again when they grow green once more? That 
which is sown rises again, that which is dead rises again, and they are 



457 

formed once more into the same classes and kinds as before. The earth first 
gave back these fruits, in these first our nature found the pattern of the 
resurrection. 

54. Why doubt that body shall rise again from body? Grain is sown, grain 
comes up again: fruit is sown, fruit comes up again; but the grain is clothed 
with blossom and husk. "And this mortal must put on immortality, and 
this corruptible must put on incorruption." The blossom of the 
resurrection is immortality, the blossom of the resurrection is incorruption. 
For what is more fruitful than perpetual rest? what supplied with richer 
store than everlasting security? Here is that abundant fruit, by whose 
increase man's nature shoots forth more abundantly after death. 

55. But you wonder how what has yielded to putrefaction can again 
become solid, how scattered particles can come together, those that are 
consumed be made good: you do not wonder how seeds broken up under 
the moist pressure of the earth grow green. For certainly they too, rotting 
under contact with the earth, are broken up, and when the fertilizing 
moisture of the soil gives life to the dead and hidden seeds, and, by the 
vital warmth, as it were breathes out a kind of soul of the green herb. Then 
by little and little nature raises from the ground the tender stalk of the 
growing ear, and as a careful mother folds it in certain sheaths, lest the 
sharp ice should hurt it as it grows, and to protect it from too great heat of 
the sun; and lest after this the rain should break down the fruit itself 
escaping as it were from its first cradle and just grown up, or lest the wind 
should scatter it, or small birds destroy it, she usually hedges it around 
with a fence of bristling awn. 

56. Why should one, then, be surprised if the earth give back those bodies 
of men which it has received, seeing that it gives life to, raises, clothes, 
protects, and defends whatsoever bodies of seeds it has received? Cease 
then to doubt that the trustworthy earth, which restores multiplied as it 
were by usury the seeds committed to it, will also restore the entrusted 
deposit of the race of man. And why should I speak of the kinds of trees, 
which spring up from seed sown, and with revivified fruitfulness bear 
again their opening fruits, and repeat the old shape and likeness, and 
certain trees being renewed continue through many generations, and in their 
endurance overpass the very centuries? We see the grape rot, and the vine 



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come up again: a graft is inserted and the tree is born again. Is there this 
divine foresight for restoring trees, and no care for men? And He Who has 
not suffered to perish that which He gave for man's use, shall He suffer 
man to perish, whom he made after His own image? 

57. But it appears incredible to you that the dead rise again? "Thou foolish 
one, that which thou thyself sowest, does it not first die that it may be 
quickened?" Sow any dry seed you please, it is raised up. But, you 
answer, it has the life-juice in itself. And our body has its blood, has its 
own moisture. This is the life-juice of our body. So that I think that the 
objection is exploded which some allege that a dry twig does not revive, 
and then endeavor to argue from this to the prejudice of the flesh. For the 
flesh is not dry, since all flesh is of clay, clay comes from moisture — 
moisture from the earth. Then, again, many growing plants, though always 
fresh, spring from dry and sandy soil, since the earth itself supplies 
sufficient moisture for itself. Does the earth then, which continually 
restores all things, fail with regard to man? From what has been said it is 
clear that we must not doubt that it is rather in accordance with than 
contrary to nature; for it is natural that all things living should rise again, 
but contrary to nature that they should perish. 

58. We come now to a point which much troubles the heathen, how it can 
be that the earth should restore those whom the sea has swallowed up, 
wild beasts have torn to pieces or have devoured. So, then, at last we 
necessarily come to the conclusion that the doubt is not as to belief in 
resurrection in general, but as to a part. For, granted that the bodies of 
those torn in pieces do not rise again, the others do so, and the resurrection 
is not disproved, but a certain class is an exception. Yet I wonder why 
they think there is any doubt even concerning these, as though not all 
things which are of the earth return to the earth, and crumble again into 
earth. And the sea itself for the most part casts up on neighboring shores 
whatever human bodies it has swallowed. And if this were not so, I 
suppose we are to believe that it would not be difficult for God to join 
together what was dispersed, to unite what was scattered; God, Whom the 
universe obeys, to Whom the dumb elements submit and nature serves; as 
though it were not a greater wonder to give life to clay than to join it 
together. 



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59. That bird in the country of Arabia, which is called the Phoenix, 
restored by the renovating juices of its flesh, after being dead comes to life 
again: shall we believe that men alone are not raised up again? Yet we know 
this by common report and the authority of writings, namely, that the bird 
referred to has a fixed period of life of five hundred years, and when by 
some warning of nature it knows that the end of its life is at hand, it 
furnishes for itself a casket of frankincense and myrrh and other perfumes, 
and its work and the time being together ended, it enters the casket and 
dies. Then from its juices a worm comes forth, and grows by degrees into 
the fashion of the same bird, and its former habits are restored, and borne 
up by the oarage of its wings it commences once more the course of its 
renewed life, and discharges a debt of gratitude. For it conveys that casket, 
whether the tomb of its body or the cradle of its resurrection, in which 
quitting life it died, and dying it rose again, from Ethiopia to Lycaonia; and 
so by the resurrection of this bird the people of those regions understand 
that a period of five hundred years is accomplished. So to that bird the five 
hundredth is the year of resurrection, but to us the thousandth: it has its 
resurrection in this world, we have ours at the end of the world. Many 
think also that this bird kindles its own funeral pile, and comes to life again 
from its own ashes. 

60. But perhaps nature if more deeply investigated will seem to give a 
deeper reason for our belief: let our thoughts turn back to the origin and 
commencement of the creation of man. You are men and women, you are 
not ignorant of the things which have to do with human nature, and if any 
of you have not this knowledge, you know that we are born of nothing. 
But how small an origin for being so great as we are! And if I do not speak 
more plainly, yet you understand, what I mean, or rather what I will not 
say. Whence, then, is this head, and that wonderful countenance, whose 
maker we see not? We see the work, it is fashioned for various purposes 
and uses. Whence is this upright figure, this lofty stature, this power of 
action, this quickness of perception, this capacity for walking upright? 
Doubtless the organs of nature are not known to us, but that which they 
effect is known. Thou too wast once seed, and thy body is the seed of that 
which shall rise again. Listen to Paul and learn that thou art this seed: "It is 
sown in corruption, it shall rise in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, it 
shall rise in glory; it is sown in weakness, it shall rise in power; it is sown 



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a natural body, it shall rise a spiritual body." Thou also, then, art sown as 
are other things, why wonderest thou if thou shall rise again as shall 
others? But thou believest as to them, because thou seest; thou believest 
not this, because thou seest it not: "Blessed are they that have not seen, 
and yet have believed." 

61. However, before the season comes, those things also are not believed, 
for every season is not suited for the raising of seeds. Wheat is sown at 
one time, and comes up at another; at one time the vine is planted, at 
another the budding twigs begin to shoot, the foliage grows luxuriant, and 
the grape is formed; at one time the olive is planted, at another time, as 
though pregnant and loaded with its offspring of berries, it is bent down 
by the abundance of its fruit. But before its own period arrives for each, 
the produce is restricted, and that which bears has not the age of bearing in 
its own power. One may see the mother of all at one time disfigured with 
mold, at another bare of produce, at another green and full of flowers, at 
another dried up. Any spot which might wish to be always clothed and 
never to lay aside the golden dress of its seeds, or the green dress of the 
meadows, would be barren in itself and unendowed with the gain of its 
own produce which it would have transferred to others. 

62. So, then, even if thou wilt not believe in our resurrection by faith nor 
by example, thou wilt believe by experience. For many products, as the 
vine, the olive, and different fruits, the end of the year is the fit time for 
ripening; and for us also the consummation of the world, as though the end 
of the year has set the fitting time for rising again. And fitly is the 
resurrection of the dead at the consummation of the world, test after the 
resurrection we should have to fall back into this evil age. For this cause 
Christ suffered that He might deliver us from this evil world; lest the 
temptations of this world should overthrow us again, and it should be an 
injury to us to come again to life, if we came to life again for sin. 

63. So then we have both a reason and a time for the resurrection: a reason 
because nature in all its produce remains consistent with itself, and does 
not fail in the generation of men alone; a time because all things are 
produced at the end of the year. For the seasons of the world consist of 
one year. What wonder if the year be one since the day is one. For on one 



461 

day the Lord hired the laborers to work in the vineyard, when He said, 
"Why stand ye here all the day idle?" 

64. The causes of the beginnings of all things are seeds. And the Apostle of 
the Gentiles has said that the human body is a seed. And so in succession 
after sowing there is the substance needful for the resurrection. But even if 
there were no substance and no cause, who could think it difficult for God 
to create man anew whence He will and as He wills. Who commanded the 
world to come into being out of no matter and no substance? Look at the 
heaven, behold the earth. Whence are the fires of the stars? Whence the orb 
and rays of the sun? Whence the globe of the moon? Whence the mountain 
heights, the hard rocks, the woody groves? Whence are the air diffused 
around, and the waters, whether enclosed or poured abroad? But if God 
made all these things out of nothing (for "He spake and they were made, 
He commanded and they were created"), why should we wonder that 
which has been should be brought to life again, since we see produced that 
which had not been? 

65. It is a cause for wonder that though they do not believe in the 
resurrection, yet in their kindly care they make provision that the human 
race should not perish, and so say that souls pass and migrate into other 
bodies that the world may not pass away. But let them say which is the 
most difficult, for souls to migrate, or to return; come back to that which is 
their own, or seek for fresh dwelling places. 

66. But let those who have not been taught doubt. For us who have read 
the Law, the Prophets, the Apostles, and the Gospel it is not lawful to 
doubt. For who can doubt when he reads: "And in that time shall all thy 
people be saved which is written in the book; and many of them that sleep 
in the graves of the earth shall arise with one opening, these to everlasting 
life, and those to shame and everlasting confusion. And they that have 
understanding shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and of the 
just many shall be as the stars for ever." Well, then, did he speak of the 
rest of those that sleep, that one may understand that death lasts not for 
ever, which like sleep is undergone for a time, and is put off at its time; and 
he shows that the progress of that life which shall be after death is better 
than that which is passed in sorrow and pain before death, inasmuch as the 
former is compared to the stars, the latter is assigned to trouble. 



462 

67. And why should I bring together what is written elsewhere: "Thou 
shalt raise me up and I will praise Thee." Or that other passage in which 
holy Job, after experiencing the miseries of this life, and overcoming all 
adversity by his virtuous patience, promised himself a recompense for 
present evils in the resurrection, saying: "Thou shall raise up this body of 
mine which has suffered many evils." Isaiah also, proclaiming the 
resurrection to the people, says that he is the announcer of the Lord's 
message, for we read thus: "For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken, and 
they shall say in that day." And what the mouth of the Lord declared that 
the people should say is set forth later on, where it is written: "Because of 
Thy fear, O Lord, we have been with child and have brought forth the 
Spirit of Thy Salvation, which Thou hast poured forth upon the earth. 
They that inhabit the earth shall fall, they shall rise that are in the graves. 
For the dew which is from Thee is health for them but the land of the 
wicked shall perish. Go O my people, and enter into thy chambers; hide 
thyself for a little until the Lord's wrath pass by." 

68. How well did he by the chambers point out the tombs of the dead, in 
which for a brief space we are hidden, that we may be better able to pass 
to the judgment of God, which shall try us with the indignation due for our 
wickednesses. He, then, is alive who is hidden and at rest, as though 
withdrawing himself from our midst and retiring, lest the misery of this 
world should entangle him with closer snares, for whom the heavenly 
oracles affirm by the voices of the prophets that the joy of the resurrection 
is reserved, and the soundness of their freed bodies procured by the divine 
deed. And dew is well used as a sign, since by it all vital seeds of the earth 
are raised to growth. What wonder is it, then, if the dust and ashes also of 
our failing body grow vigorous by the richness of the heavenly dew, and 
by the reception of this vital moistening the shapes of our limbs are 
refashioned and connected again with each other? 

69. And the holy prophet Ezekiel teaches and describes with a full 
exposition how vigor is restored to the dry bones, the senses return, 
motion is added, and the sinews coming back, the joints of the human body 
grow strong; how the bones which were very dry are clothed with restored 
flesh, and the course of the veins and the flow of the blood is covered by 
the veil of the skin drawn over them. As we read, the reviving multitude of 



463 

human bodies seems to spring up under the very words of the prophet, 
and one can see on the widespread plain the new seed shoot forth. 

70. But if the wise men of old believed that a crop of armed men sprang up 
in the district of Thebes from the sowing of the hydra' s teeth, whereas it is 
certainly established that seeds of one kind cannot be changed into another 
kind of plant, nor bring forth produce differing from its own seeds, so that 
men should spring from serpents and flesh from teeth; how much more, 
indeed, is it to be believed that whatever has been sown rises again in its 
own nature, and that crops do not differ from their seed, that soft things 
do not spring from hard, nor hard from soft, nor is poison changed into 
blood; but that flesh is restored from flesh, bone from bone, blood from 
blood, the humors of the body from humors. Can ye then, ye heathen, who 
are able to assert a change, deny a restoration of the nature? Can you 
refuse to believe the oracles of God, the Gospel, and the prophets, who 
believe empty fables? 

71. But let us now hear the prophet himself, who speaks thus: "The hand 
of the Lord was upon me, and the Lord led me forth in the Spirit, and 
placed me in the midst of the plain, and it was full of men's bones; and He 
led me through them round about, and, lo, there were very many bones on 
the face of the plain, and they were very dry. And He said unto me: Son of 
man, can these bones live? And I said: Lord, Thou knowest; and He said to 
me: Prophesy over these bones, and thou shalt say unto them: O ye dry 
bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord to these bones: 
Behold I bring upon you the Spirit of life, and I will lay sinews upon you, 
and will bring up flesh upon you, and will stretch skin over you, and will 
put My Spirit into you, and ye shall live, and know that I am the Lord. 
And I prophesied as He commanded me. And it came to pass when I was 
prophesying all these things, lo, there was a great earthquake." 

72. Note how the prophet shows that there was hearing and movement in 
the bones before the Spirit of life was poured upon them. For, above, both 
the dry bones are bidden to hear, as if they had the sense of hearing, and 
that upon this each of them came to its own joint is pointed out by the 
words of the prophet, for we read as follows: "And the bones came 
together, each one to its joint. And I beheld, and, lo, sinews and flesh were 



464 

forming upon them, and skin came upon them from above, and there was 
no Spirit in them." 

73. Great is the lovingkindness of the Lord, that the prophet is taken as a 
witness of the future resurrection, that we, too might see it with his eyes. 
For all could not be taken as witnesses, but in that one all we are 
witnesses, for neither does lying come upon a holy man, nor error upon so 
great a prophet. 

74. Nor ought it to appear at all improbable, that at the command of God 
the bones were fitted again to their joints, since we have numberless 
instances in which nature has obeyed the commands of heaven; as the earth 
was bidden to bring forth the green herb, and did bring it forth; as the rock 
at the touch of the rod gave forth water for the thirsting people; and the 
hard stone poured forth streams by the mercy of God for those parched 
with heat. What else did the rod changed into a serpent signify, than that at 
the will of God living things can be produced from those that are without 
life? Do you think it more incredible that bones should come together 
when bidden, than that streams should be turned back or the sea flee? For 
thus does the prophet testify: "The sea saw it and fled, Jordan was driven 
back." Nor can there be any doubt about this fact, which was proved by 
the rescue of one and the destruction of the other of two peoples, that the 
waves of the sea stood restrained, and at the same time surrounded one 
people, and poured back upon the other for their death, that they might 
overwhelm the one, but preserve the other. And what do we find in the 
Gospel itself? Did not the Lord Himself prove there that the sea grew calm 
at a word, the clouds were driven away, the blasts of the winds yielded, 
and that on the quieted shores the dumb elements obeyed God? 

75. But let us go on with the other points, that we may observe how by 
the Spirit of life the dead are quickened, they that lie in the graves arise, 
and the tombs are opened: "And He said unto me: Prophesy, son of man, 
and say to the Spirit, Come from the four winds of heaven, O Spirit, and 
breathe upon these dead, that they may live. And I prophesied as He 
commanded me, and the Spirit of life entered into them, and they lived, and 
stood up on their feet, an exceeding great company. And the Lord spake 
unto me, saying: Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. 
For they say, Our bones are become dry, our hope is lost, we shall perish. 



465 

Therefore, prophesy and say: Thus saith the Lord: Behold I will open 
your graves, and will bring you up out of your graves into the land of 
Israel, and ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall open your 
graves, and bring forth My people out of the graves, and shall put My 
Spirit in you, and place you in your own land, and ye shall know that I am 
the Lord; I have spoken, and I will perform it, saith the Lord." 

76. We notice here how the operations of the Spirit of life are again 
resumed; we know after what manner the dead are raised from the opening 
tombs. And is it in truth a matter of wonder that the sepulchers of the 
dead are unclosed at the bidding of the Lord, when the whole earth from its 
utmost limits is shaken by one thunderclap, the sea overflows its bounds, 
and again checks the course of its waves? And finally, he who has believed 
that the dead shall rise again "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at 
the last trump (for the trumpet shall sound)," "shall be caught up amongst 
the first in the clouds to meet Christ in the air;" he who has not believed 
shall be left, and subject himself to the sentence by his own unbelief. 

77. The Lord also shows us in the Gospel, to come now to instances, after 
what manner we shall rise again. "For He raised not Lazarus alone, but the 
faith of all; and if thou believest, as thou readest, thy spirit also, which 
was dead, revives with Lazarus." For what does it mean, that the Lord 
went to the sepulcher and cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth," 
except that He would give us a visible proof, would set forth an example of 
the future resurrection? Why did He cry with a loud voice, as though He 
were not wont to work in the Spirit, to command in silence, but only that 
He might show that which is written: "In a moment, in the twinkling of an 
eye, at the last trump the dead shall rise again incorruptible"? For the 
raising of the voice answers to the peal of trumpets. And He cried, 
"Lazarus, come forth." Why is the name added, except perchance lest one 
might seem to be raised instead of another, or that the resurrection were 
rather accidental than commanded. 

78. So, then, the dead man heard, and came forth from the tomb, bound 
hand and foot with grave cloths, and his face was bound with a napkin. 
Conceive, if thou canst, how he makes his way with closed eyes, directs 
his steps with bound feet, and moves as though free with fastened limbs. 
The bands remained on him but did not restrain him, his eyes were covered 



466 

yet they saw. So, then, he saw who was rising again, who was walking, 
who was leaving the sepulcher. For when the power of the divine 
command was working, nature did not require its own functions, and 
brought, as it were, into extremity, obeyed no longer its own course, but 
the divine will. The bands of death were burst before those of the grave. 
The power of moving was exercised before the means of moving were 
supplied. 

79. If thou marvellest at this, consider Who gave the command, that thou 
mayest cease to wonder; Jesus Christ, the Power of God, the Life, the 
Light, the Resurrection of the dead. The Power raised up him that was 
lying prostrate, the Life produced his steps, the Light drove away the 
darkness and restored his sight, the Resurrection renewed the gift of life. 

80. Perchance it may trouble thee that the Jews took away the stone and 
loosened the grave cloths, and thou mayest haply be anxious as to who 
shall move the stone from thy tomb. As though He Who could restore the 
Spirit could not remove the stone; or He Who made the bound to walk 
could not burst the bonds; or He Who had shed light upon the covered 
eyes could not uncover the face; or He Who could renew the course of 
nature could not cleave the stone ! But, in order that they may believe their 
eyes who will not believe with their heart, they remove the stone, they see 
the corpse, they smell the stench, they loose the grave cloths. They cannot 
deny that he is dead whom they behold rising again; they see the signs of 
death and the proofs of life. What if, whilst they are busied, they are 
converted by the very toil itself? What if, while they hear, they believe 
their own ears? What if, while they behold, they are instructed by their 
own eyes? What if, while they loose the bonds, they free their own minds? 
What if, while Lazarus is being unbound, the people is set free, while they 
let Lazarus go, themselves return to the Lord? For, lastly, many who had 
come to Mary, seeing what had taken place, believed. 

81. And this was not the only instance which our Lord Jesus Christ set 
forth, but He raised others also, that we might at any rate believe more 
numerous instances. He raised the young man again, moved by the tears of 
his widowed mother, when He came and touched the bier, and said: 
"Young man, I say unto thee, arise, and he that was dead sat up and began 



467 

to speak." As soon as he heard he forthwith sat up, he forthwith spake. 
The working of power, then, is one thing, the order of nature is another. 

82. And what shall I say of the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue, at 
whose death multitudes were weeping and the flute-players piping? For 
the funeral solemnities were being performed because of the conviction of 
death. How quickly at the word of the Lord does the spirit return, the 
reviving body rise up, and food is taken, that the evidence of life may be 
believed! 

83. And why should we wonder that the soul is restored at the word of 
God, that flesh returns to the bones, when we remember the dead raised by 
the touch of the prophet's body? Elijah prayed, an d raised the dead child. 
Peter in the name of Christ bade Tabitha rise and walk, and the poor 
rejoicing believed for the food's sake which she ministered to them, and 
shall we not believe for our salvation's sake? They purchased the 
resurrection of another by their tears, shall we not believe in the purchase 
of ours by the Passion of Christ? Who when He gave up the ghost, in 
order to show that He died for our resurrection, worked out the course of 
the resurrection; for so soon as "He cried again with a loud voice and gave 
up the ghost, the earth did quake, and the rocks were rent, and the tombs 
were opened, and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and, going 
forth out of the tombs after His resurrection, came into the holy city and 
appeared unto many." 

84. If these things happened when He gave up the ghost, why should we 
think them incredible when He shall return to judgment? especially since 
this earlier resurrection is a pledge of that future resurrection, and a pattern 
of that reality Which is to come; indeed, it is rather itself truth than a 
pattern. Who, then, at the Lord's resurrection opened the graves, gave a 
hand to those who were rising, showed them the road to find the holy 
city? If there was no one, it was certainly the Divine Power which was 
working in the bodies of the dead. Shall one seek for the aid of man where 
one sees the work of God? 

85. Divine action has no need of human assistance. God commanded that 
the heavens should come into existence, and it was done; He determined 
that the earth should be created, and it was created. Who carried together 



468 

the stones on his shoulders? who supplied the expenses? who furnished 
assistance to God as He toiled? These things were made in a moment. 
Would you know how quickly? "He spake and they were made." If the 
elements spring up at a word, why should the dead not rise at a word? For 
though they be dead, yet they once lived, once had the breath of life for 
feeling, and strength for acting; and there is a very great difference between 
not having been capable of life, and having remained lifeless. The devil said: 
"Command this stone that it become bread." He confesses that at the 
command of God nature can be transformed, dost thou not believe that at 
the command of God nature can be remade? 

86. Philosophers dispute about the course of the sun and the system of the 
heavens, and there are those who think that these should be believed when 
they are ignorant of what they are talking about. For neither have they 
climbed up into the heavens, nor measured the sky, nor examined the 
universe with their eyes; for none of them was with God in the beginning, 
none of them has said of God: "When He was preparing the heavens I was 
with Him, I was with Him as a master workman, I was he in whom He 
delighted." If, then, they are believed, is God not believed, Who says: "As 
the new heavens and the new earth, which I make to remain before Me, 
saith the Lord; so shall your name and your seed abide; and month shall be 
after month, and sabbath after sabbath, and all flesh shall come in My sight 
to worship in Jerusalem, saith the Lord God; and they shall go forth, and 
shall see the limbs of men who have transgressed against Me. For their 
worm shall not die and their fire shall not be quenched and they shall be a 
sight to all flesh." 

87. If the earth and heaven are renewed, why should we doubt that man, 
on account of whom heaven and earth were made, can be renewed? If the 
transgressor be reserved for punishment, why should not the just be kept 
for glory? If the worm of sins does not die, how shall the flesh of the just 
perish? For the resurrection, as the very form of the word shows, is this, 
that what has fallen should rise again, that which has died should come to 
life again. 

88. And this is the course and ground of justice, that since the action of 
body and soul is common to both(for what the soul has conceived the 
body has carried out), each should come into judgment, and each should be 



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either given over to punishment or reserved for glory. For it would seem 
almost inconsistent that, since the law of the mind fights against the law of 
the flesh, and the mind often, when sin dwelling in man acts, does that 
which it hates; the mind guilty of a fault shared by another should be 
subjected to penalty, and the flesh, the author of the evil, should enjoy 
rest: and that should alone suffer which had not sinned alone, or should 
alone attain to glory, not having fought alone with the help of grace. 

89. The reason, unless I am mistaken, is complete and just, but I do not 
require a reason from Christ. If I am convinced by reason I reject faith. 
Abraham believed God, let us also believe Him, that we who are heirs of 
his race may also be heirs of his faith. David likewise believed, and 
therefore did he speak; let us also believe that we may be able to speak, 
knowing that "He Who raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also with 
Jesus." For God, Who never lies, promised this; the Truth promised this in 
His Gospel, when He said: "This is the will of Him that sent Me, that of 
all that which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it 
up at the last day." And He thought it not sufficient to have said this once, 
but marked it by express repetition, for this follows: "For this is the will 
of My Father, Who sent Me, that every one that seeth the Son and 
believeth on Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last 
day." 

90. Who was He that said this? He in truth Who when dead raised up 
many bodies of the departed. If we believe not God, shall we not believe 
evidence? Do we not believe what He promised, since He did even that 
which He did not promise? And what reason would He have had for dying, 
had He not also had a reason for rising again? For, seeing that God could 
not die, Wisdom could not die; and inasmuch as that could not rise again 
which had not died, flesh is assumed, which can die, that whilst that, 
whose nature it is, dies, that which had died should rise again. For the 
resurrection could not be effected except by man; since, "as by man came 
death, so too by man came the resurrection of the dead." 

91. So, then, man rose because man died; man was raised again, but God 
raised him. Then it was man according to the Flesh, now God is all in all. 
For now we know not Christ according to the flesh, but we possess the 
grace of that Flesh, so that we know Him the firstfruits of them that rest, 



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the firstborn of the dead. Now the first-fruits are undoubtedly of the same 
nature and kind as the remaining fruits, the first of which are offered to 
God as a petition for a richer increase, as a holy thank-offering for all gifts, 
and as a kind of libation of that nature which has been restored. Christ, 
then, is the firstfruits of them that rest. But is this of His own who are at 
rest, who, as it were, freed from death, are holden by a kind of sweet 
slumber, or of all those who are dead? "As in Christ all die, so too in 
Christ shall all be made alive." So, then, as the firstfruits of death were in 
Adam, so also the firstfruits of the resurrection are in Christ. 

92. All men rise again, but let no one lose heart, and let not the just grieve 
at the common lot of rising again, since he awaits the chief fruit of his 
virtue. All indeed shall rise again, but, as says the Apostle, "each in his 
own order." The fruit of the Divine Mercy is common to all, but the order 
of merit differs. The day gives light to all, the sun warms all, the rain 
fertilizes the possessions of all with genial showers. 

93. We are all born, and we shall all rise again, but in each state, whether of 
living or of living again, grace differs and the condition differs. For, "in a 
moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, the dead shall rise 
incorruptible and we shall be changed." Moreover, in death itself some 
rest, and some live. Rest is good, but life is better. And so the Apostle 
rouses him that is resting to life, saying: "Rise, thou that sleepest, and 
arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." Therefore he is 
aroused that he may live, that he may be like to Paul, that he may be able 
to say: "For we that are alive shall not prevent those that are asleep." He 
speaks not here of the common manner of life, and the breath which we all 
alike enjoy, but of the merit of the resurrection. For, having said, "And the 
dead which are in Christ shall rise first," he adds further; "And we that are 
alive shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet Christ in 
the air." 

94. Paul certainly is dead, and by his honorable passion exchanged the life 
of the body for everlasting glory; did he then deceive himself when he 
wrote that he should be caught up alive in the clouds to meet Christ? We 
read the same too of Enoch and of Elijah, and thou too shalt be caught up 
in the Spirit. Lo the chariot of Elijah, lo the fire, though not seen are 
prepared, that the just may ascend, the innocent be borne forth, and thy 



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life may not know death. For indeed the apostles knew not death, 
according to that which was said: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, many of 
those standing here shall not taste death until they see the Son of man 
coming in His kingdom." For he lives, who has nothing in him which can 
die, who has not from Egypt any shoe or bond, but has put it off before 
laying aside the service of this body. And so not Enoch alone is alive, for 
not he alone was caught up; Paul also was caught up to meet Christ. 

95. The patriarchs also live, for God could not be called the God of 
Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, except the dead were living; for He is not 
the God of the dead but of the living. And we, too, shall live if we be 
willing to copy the deeds and habits of our predecessors. We are 
astonished at the rewards of the patriarchs, let us copy their faithfulness; 
we tell of their grace, let us follow their obedience; let us not, enticed by 
appetite, fall into the snares of the world. Let us lay hold of the 
opportunity, of the commandment of the Law, the mercy of our vocation, 
the desire of suffering. The patriarchs went forth from their own land, let 
us go forth in purpose from the power of the body; let us go forth in 
purpose as they in exile; but they esteemed that not to be exile which the 
fear of God caused, necessity did not enforce. They changed their land for 
another soil, let us change earth for heaven; they changed in earthly 
habitation, let us change in spirit. To them Wisdom showed the heaven 
illuminated with stars, let it enlighten the eyes of our heart. Thus does the 
type agree with the truth, and the truth with the type. 

96. Abraham, ready to receive strangers, faithful towards God, devoted in 
ministering, quick in his service, saw the Trinity in a type; he added 
religious duty to hospitality, when beholding Three he worshipped One, 
and preserving the distinction of the Persons, yet addressed one Lord, he 
offered to Three the honor of his gift, while acknowledging one Power. It 
was not learning but grace which spoke in him, and he believed better what 
he had not learnt than we who have learnt. No one had falsified the 
representation of the truth, and so he sees Three, but worships the Unity. 
He brings forth three measures of fine meal, and slays one victim, 
considering that one sacrifice is sufficient, but a triple gift; one victim, an 
offering of three. And in the four kings, who does not understand that he 
subjected to himself the elements of the material creation, and all earthly 
things in a sign whereby the Lord's Passion was prefigured? Faithful in 



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war, moderate in his triumph, in that he preferred not to become richer by 
the gifts of men, but by those of God. 

97. He believed that he when old could beget a son, and judged himself 
when a father able to sacrifice his son; nor did his fatherly affection 
tremble when duty aided the right hand of the old man, for he knew that 
his son would be more acceptable to God when sacrificed than when 
whole. Therefore he brings his well-beloved son to be sacrificed, and 
offered promptly him whom he had received late; nor is he restrained by 
being called by the name of father, when his son called him "Father," and 
he replied, "My son." Dear pledges of love are these names, but the 
commands of God are loved still more. And so although their hearts felt for 
each other, their purpose remained firm. The father's hand stretched out 
the knife over his son, and the father's heart struck the blow that the 
sentence might not fail of being carried out; he feared lest the stroke should 
miss, lest his right hand should fail. He felt the movings of fatherly 
affection, but did not shrink from the work of submission, and hastened 
his obedience, even when he heard the voice from heaven. Let us then set 
God before all those whom we love, father, brother, mother, that He may 
preserve for us those whom we love, as in the case of Abraham we behold 
rather the liberal Rewarder than the servant. 

98. The father offered indeed his son, but God is appeased not by blood 
but by dutiful obedience. He showed the ram in the thicket s in the stead 
of the lad, that He might restore the son to his father, and yet the victim 
not fail the priest. And so Abraham was not stained with his son's blood, 
nor was God deprived of the sacrifice. The prophet spoke, and neither 
yielded to boastfulness nor continued obstinate, but took the ram in 
exchange for the lad. And by this is shown the more how piously he 
offered him whom he now so gladly received back. And thou, if thou offer 
thy gift to God, dost not lose it. But we are tenacious of our own; God 
gave His only Son for us, we refuse ours. Abraham saw this and 
recognized the mystery, that salvation should be to us from the Tree, nor 
did it escape his notice that in one and the same sacrifice it was One that 
seemed to be offered, Another which could be slain. 

99. Let us, then, imitate the devotion of Abraham, let us imitate the 
goodness of Isaac, let us imitate his purity. The man was plainly good and 



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chaste, full of devotion towards God, chaste towards his wife. He returned 
not evil for evil, yielded to those who would thrust him out, received them 
again on their repentance, neither violent towards insolence, nor stubborn 
towards kindness. Fleeing from strife when he went away from others, 
ready to forgive when he received them again, and still more lavish of 
goodness when he forgave them. The fellowship of his company was 
sought, he gave in addition a feast of pleasure. 

100. In Jacob, too, let us imitate the type of Christ, let there be some 
likeness of his actions in ourselves. We shall have our share with him, if we 
imitate him. He was obedient to his mother, he yielded to his brother, he 
served his father-in-law, he sought his wages from the increase, not from a 
division of the flocks. There was no covetous division, where his portion 
brought such gain. Nor was that sign without a purpose, the ladder from 
earth to heaven, wherein was seen the future fellowship between men and 
angels through the cross of Christ, whose thigh was paralyzed, that in his 
thigh he might recognize the Heir of his body, and foretell by the 
paralyzing of his thigh the Passion of his Heir. 

101. We see, then, that heaven is open to virtue, and that this is the 
privilege not only of a few: "For many shall come from the east dud from 
the west, and the north and the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of 
God," giving expression to the enjoyment of perpetual rest since the 
motions of their souls are stilled. Let us follow Abraham in our habits, that 
he may receive us into his bosom, and cherish us with loving embrace, like 
Lazarus the inheritor of his humility surrounded by his own special 
virtues. The followers of the holy patriarch, approved of God, cherish us 
not in a bodily bosom, but in a clothing as it were of good works. "Be not 
deceived," says the Apostle, "God is not mocked." 

102. We have seen, then, how grave an offense it is not to believe the 
resurrection; for if we rise not again, then Christ died in vain, then Christ 
rose not again. For if He rose not for us, He certainly rose not at all, for He 
had no need to rise for Himself. The universe rose again in Him, the heaven 
rose again in Him, the earth rose again in Him, for there shall be a new 
heaven and a new earth. But where was the necessity of a resurrection for 
Him Whom the claims of death held not? For though He died as man, yet 
was He free in hell itself. 



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103. Wilt thou know how free? "I am become as a man that hath no help, 
free among the dead." And well is He called free, Who had power to raise 
Himself, according to that which is written: "Destroy this temple, and in 
three days I will raise it up." And well is He called free, Who had 
descended to rescue others. For He was made as a man, not, indeed, in 
appearance only, but so fashioned in truth, for He is man, and who shall 
know Him? For, "being made in the likeness of men, and being found in 
fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto 
death," in order that through that obedience we might see His glory, "the 
glory as of the Only -begotten of the Father," according to Saint John. For 
thus is the statement of Scripture preserved, if both the glory of the 
Only -begotten and the nature of perfect man are preserved in Christ. 

104. And so He needed no helper. For He needed none when He made the 
world, so as to need none when He would redeem it. No legate, no 
messenger, but the Lord Himself made it whole. "He spake and it was 
done." The Lord Himself made it whole, Himself in every part, because all 
things were by Him. For who should help Him in Whom all things were 
created and by Whom all things consist? Who should help Him Who 
makes all things in a moment, and raises the dead at the last trump? The 
"last," not as though He could not raise them at the first, or the second, or 
the third, but an order is observed, not that a difficulty may be at last 
overcome, but that the prescribed number be accomplished. 

105. But it is now time, I think, to speak of the trumpets since my 
discourse is nearing its end, that the trumpet may also be the sign of the 
finishing of my address. We read of seven trumpets in the Revelation of 
John, which seven angels received. And there you read that when the 
seventh angel sounded his trumpet, there was a great voice from heaven, 
saying: "The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our God and 
of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever." The word trumpet is 
also used for a voice, as you read: "Behold a door opened in heaven, and 
the first voice which I heard, as of a trumpet speaking with me and saying